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Gun Range Ordinance Delayed By Wary Chicago City Council

 A new law that has the support of the mayor would allow gun ranges to open up in more parts of Chicago.
A new law that has the support of the mayor would allow gun ranges to open up in more parts of Chicago.
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CITY HALL — Gun ranges will not be allowed to open up in more parts of Chicago — at least for now.

Aldermen voted to delay a measure to allow gun ranges to operate in areas of the city where business, commercial and industrial uses are allowed — with a special permit from city officials.

After the council meeting, Ald. Ed Burke (14th) said some of his colleagues still had questions about the law — and were concerned a vote in favor of it could be used by their political opponents to paint them as pro-gun.

Under a law passed in 2011, gun ranges are only allowed in industrial parts of the city. Even then, ranges must be at least 100 feet from any other range and at least 500 feet from homes, schools, day care operations, houses of worship, liquor stores, parks, libraries, museums and hospitals.

The measure delayed Wednesday would allow anyone younger than 18 to shoot at a gun range, as long as they are supervised by a parent, guardian or instructor.

The City Council could take up the measure again at its meeting May 24.

There are currently no gun ranges in Chicago, and no pending applications to open a facility.

If this measure is approved, gun ranges would need a special-use permit from city officials. Those permits can be denied based on the complaints of nearby residents, according to city rules.

In January, a three-judge panel of the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Chicago's restrictions on gun ranges violated the Second Amendment.

In its arguments to the court, Chicago officials called gun violence a "serious public health and safety problem with both social and economic consequences" and argued that gun ranges would attract thieves, as well as threaten lead contamination, noise pollution and fire.

Judge Diane Sykes said the city provided no evidence to back up such claims.