Comments on the new Gun Gallery on Dillerville Rd.

My comments to the Manheim Township Commissioners in response to the new Gun Gallery on Dillerville Road. Statement made at the February 26 Commissioner Meeting.

My name is Dana Hamp Gulick, I’m a resident of Manheim Township. I’d like to ask those in the room who are here tonight but cannot speak about this issue because they are not residents of the township, to please stand up. Thank you. As you can see, we are out in force tonight.

I question the safety of having a gun retailer so close to a K-12 school, a college and a high-density residential neighborhood. Gun violence is again a raging debate in this country, due to the horrific school shooting that took place on Valentine’s Day at Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS in Florida. And so it should be. The gun problem in the US is unlike anything encountered by any other country on the face of the globe.

Given our history of school and college shootings, it really seems like a no-brainer that we’d think about the implications of having a gun store so close to our places of education. As disgusting as it is, they are popular targets for mass shooters and to deny this fact or pretend otherwise is to operate with depraved indifference. I’m not saying that is what happened in this case, but surely, we can do better.

Others will speak on this issue tonight and so I will keep my focus on site security and the rash of recent gun-store break-ins in Lancaster and surrounding counties.

In November, 72 guns were stolen from Kinsey’s Outdoors shop in Mount Joy. In early January, two men smashed the front window of a gun store in Palmyra and made off with 13 handguns. On Feb 11 – just 5 days before the Parkland shooting -- three men stole 43 guns from Carbon & Steel Sporting Goods in York. That’s 128 stolen guns -- that we know of -- in our vicinity since November.

We understand that the security requirements for a gun store in PA mandate that firearms, ammunition and/or advertising cannot be readily seen from the outside by the public. For PA, this specifically applies to hand-guns or short-barreled rifles or shotguns. While this store appears to be meeting that requirement – when looking through the windows you can’t see the guns – their advertising and store signage is in violation as it shows a handgun and other firearms. We can fix that.

But other than that – that the public shouldn’t be able to see the guns from outside – there are no other security requirements for gun stores. In fact, because the public should not be able to see the inventory from outside, gun stores are often pitch black at night. Unlike banks, which keep their lights on at night so that it would be apparent if someone were in there during off-business hours, gun stores do the exact opposite. Nothing can be seen, because nothing should be seen. Therefore, footage and photos of gun store break ins are shown using night vision cameras. And, let it be pointed out the windows themselves are an easy opportunity for a break in. This information should terrify all of us. We can do better.

The fact that we’ve allowed this store to open so close to our homes and the schools where we educate our children is appalling. And though perhaps perfectly legal, that doesn’t mean we should accept the situation – and as you can see from the people here in this room, we refuse to accept the current situation. In fact, we look forward to working with you to make it better.

Thank you for your time.