City Council Legalizes Gun Ranges In Chicago

Updated 07/06/11 – 3:04 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — The City Council has approved an ordinance legalizing gun ranges within the city limits, just as a federal appeals court had struck down the city’s ban.

Aldermen approved the ordinance at Wednesday’s council meeting without discussion. At virtually the same time, a federal appeals court had ruled in favor of a lawsuit challenging the city’s ban on firing ranges and had issued an injunction against the ban.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Bob Roberts reports

The move comes a year after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the city’s handgun ban was unconstitutional and then-Mayor Richard M. Daley pushed through a new firearms ordinance that required gun owners to get firing range training, but that banned firing ranges in Chicago.

Gun supporters filed two lawsuits challenging the ban on gun ranges in Chicago and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, expecting the city would lose those lawsuits, pushed through the new ordinance allowing gun ranges within city limits.

“Swift and decisive action from the City Council was essential to preserve the gun control and safety elements of the ordinance,” Emanuel said Wednesday. “The action taken by the Council today ensured that the gun ranges in Chicago will be regulated as part of a thoughtful plan that is focused on the safety of all Chicagoans.”

But the gun ranges would be subject to severe restrictions. The ranges could only be set up in areas zoned for manufacturing, and could not open within 1,000 feet of residential areas, schools, parks, libraries, museums, hospitals or liquor stores.

Currently, firing ranges are not permitted in the city, except for those with use restricted to Chicago Police officers. A police firing range, in fact, was approved this past November on a marshland the city’s Far Southeast Side, despite concerns that it would threaten birds that roost nearby.

But firing ranges for the general public were banned as part of the new city gun ordinance that was drawn up when the U.S. Supreme Court rendered unenforceable the city’s 1982 ban on handgun ownership in McDonald v. Chicago.

Even when the old handgun ban was in effect, a shooting range for another type of firearms operated for many years in the city – right on the lakefront. The Lincoln Park Gun Club operated a trap and skeet shooting range along the lake at Diversey Parkway from 1912 until it disbanded in 1991, amid environmental concerns about the lead shot the club was leaving in Lake Michigan.

  • Leroy Goldberg

    I always assumed the entire South Side was Chicago’s Gun Range.


    • Vince

      Funny,Sad…..But True.

  • George

    Back in the 60’s and 70’s I was a member of an indoor rifle target shooting team that belonged to a league that shot in ranges all over and around Chicago. In fact, our home range was in an old Commonwealth Edison Company transformer building near Cermak and Wabash that they had converted for their employees. Many of our team members were Chicago Police officers. My how times have changed.

    I do not recall one, single negative instance involving anyone misusing any firearms. Oh yeah, I forgot, we were all law abiding, taxpaying citizens. We were not your neighborhood gang bangers.

    Thank goodness cooler heads and common sense may beginning to make a re-surgense. God Bless America.

  • What!?!

    I find it interesting that even after the supreme court ruled that Chicagos ban on guns was illegal, the city went and passed another law that allowed people to own them, but only after they had time in a gun range. And in the same law, forbid gun ranges from being in city limits.

    Just another attempt to hinder law abiding citizens the right to bear arms and protect themselves! And they knew that the ban on gun ranges wouldn’t stand up in court either, so they just wasted a lot of time and money on this ban. This just further illustrates the complete uselessness of the politicians in Illinois, regardless of who they are.

    • Mr. Justice

      Well said. Now we move forward for ALL Law Abiding Citizens having their 2nd Amendment Right to keep and bear arms. Conceal Carry is a must in Chicago and in Illinois.

      • Vince

        Sign Me Up NOW!!

  • citizen for a Livable Chicago

    I bet the city taxes the hell out of these ranges.

  • Brad

    Just like our other idiot mayor tried to make it difficult for law abiding citizens to own a gun as of last July, this mayor IS going to tax and regulate the hell out of firing ranges. Yes we do need CCW in Chicago and this state but while it may pass in some parts, dont hold your breath for chicago

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