Proposed Gun Club Near Church And School Is Criticized


The gun club’s location could work in the school and church’s favor. And maybe if two very vulnerable targets (school and church) strike a deal with the gun club, they would stand guard.


MANATEE COUNTY – The site of a proposed gun club has drawn criticism from a neighboring church and a private school, which uses a nearby wooded acreage as an outdoor laboratory for its students.

The Ancient Oak Gun Club, which is being developed by Schroeder-Manatee Ranch, hopes to offer a 24-station sporting clay course on its 80-acre site six miles east of Interstate 75 and south of State Road 64.

Sporting clays, one of the fastest-growing shooting sports, involves shooters who walk or ride in golf carts to different stations, where they try to hit clay pigeons using shotguns loaded with low-powered trap and skeet shells.

There will be no rifle or pistol ranges at the club, said Wayne Evans, a competitive shooter who was picked by SMR, the developer of Lakewood Ranch, to manage the club.

“We plan to hold benefits and charity events, and free clinics for beginners,” Evans said. “When you go to a sporting clay course, the camaraderie is amazing,”

Evans, who has built and owned sporting clay courses in Florida, said the club was on track to open in the spring, but now its fate is uncertain.

Officials from Bayside Community Church and Center Montessori School raised objections at a hearing for a special use permit held last month. The hearing officer is expected to announce her decision next week…………………………..

“SMR is very sensitive about how people think,” Evans said. “They’re very community- and people-oriented. That said, this meets all ordinances and laws. To turn it down would be wrong.” READ MORE

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