Newtown says athletic training facility can’t hold gun show, but settles on compromise

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The Newtown Township Athletic Training Center cannot hold a gun show, a legal agreement has ruled, but firearms, guns and rifles can be included in a campground or a outdoor event as long as they are not the centerpiece of this affair.

It’s the conclusion of a dispute over firearms appearing at the facility run by the Newtown Athletic Club, 116 Pheasant Run and 209 Penns Trail.

“In short,” Township Manager Micah Lewis said, “the by-law allows event-type events and shows to be held on the property, which they weren’t allowed to do previously under their occupancy certificate.”

The issue first arose in January when it became known that a gun show was planned at the training center. Township officials objected and said a gun display was not permitted under the certificate of occupancy. The Athletic Club appealed the decision, which then led to talks between township supervisors and the Athletic Cub.

Township attorney Dave Sander said talks recently resulted in a settlement agreement between township supervisors and the Newtown Athletic Club.

“No firearm, firearm, rifle, shotgun or similar shall be displayed, sold or traded on the property except one per calendar year and such display, sale or trade shall not be the primary purpose of event or exhibition or sale,” the agreement states.

The bylaw, unanimously approved by township supervisors, provides an exception to the ban on firearms at the site, Sander said. An event like an outdoor show or camping once a year may have the presence of guns, but not as the main attraction, he said.

A canceled gun show at the training center was supposed to be an Eagle Show. No official spokesperson was available to comment on the settlement, but an employee confirmed that the show had been canceled.

“We couldn’t get permission for this,” said the employee who asked not to be named.

The Eagle Show business states on its website that it is “the home of the largest gun shows in the Keystone State”. Upcoming shows are scheduled for Trevose, Allentown and Morgantown.

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