CHICAGO (CBS) — Officials in Niles have approved plans for a gun shop and indoor shooting range, despite complaints about its proximity to several schools.
Niles village trustees voted 4-1 to allow the Sportsman’s Club and Firearms Training Academy to open in the 6100 block of Howard Street, an industrial area within two miles of at least nine public and private schools, including Niles West High School.
Many residents opposed it because of its proximity to schools. Opponents and supporters packed Tuesday night’s meeting voicing their opinions.
“Gun violence is an epidemic in the Chicagoland area, and adding a guns hop in the Chicagoland area is just unconscionable,” said Ellen Chiocca.
Laura Williams, of Skokie, said the board ignored input from local residents.
“They did not care what community members felt. Shame on them,” she said.
However, one trustee said he could find no studies which indicated having a gun shop or shooting range near a school would increase the chances for gun violence against students.
Co-owner Miles Cunningham said he’s glad the vote went their way, and he expects the business to open in 10-12 months.