In a move effectively striking down a previous ban on gun ranges within city limits, Chicago's City Council voted hurriedly and unanimously Wednesday to allow for indoor ranges to be licensed, though several caveats to the newly-approved ordinance dictate how and where they can operate. A judge ruled the gun-range ban illegal shortly after it was overturned by the Council.
As HuffPost Chicago wrote yesterday, the ordinance came largely as a reaction to a federal lawsuit against the city's ban on ranges. In order for one to obtain a firearm permit in Chicago, a prospective gun owner must go through a brief training course at a firing range. Since ranges had, until now, been banned within the city, those seeking a permit had to travel to the suburbs to pursue taking up arms legally.
Under the new ordinance, prospective Chicago gun owners can go to a range allowed under a special use permit, as the Chicago Sun-Times reported. Ranges within city limits must be fully enclosed and will only be allowed in manufacturing zones and must be located at least 1,000 feet away from any schools, parks, place of worship, day care facilities, liquor stores, libraries, museums, hospitals or residential districts. The ranges may only operate between the hours of 9 a.m. and 8 p.m.
(Scroll down to watch footage from the ordinance being approved in Wednesday's City Council meeting.)
The permits for the ranges are pricey -- $4,000 for every two years, according to NBC Chicago.
The National Rifle Association has criticized the ordinance as still too restrictive and has left the door open for another lawsuit, according to the Sun-Times' report.
Last year, the Supreme Court struck down the city's previous handgun ban and then-Mayor Richard M. Daley had forced through the previous ordinance that required range training without allowing ranges within city limits, which inspired lawsuits from gun-rights advocates, AP reported.
As expected, the previous provision banning firing ranges in Chicago was defeated in court shortly after the City Council approved their new ordinance Wednesday, according to Bloomberg.
“The plaintiffs are entitled to a preliminary injunction against the firing-range ban,” U.S. Circuit Judge Diane Syke said in her ruling [PDF]. "The harm to their Second Amendment rights cannot be remedied by damages, their challenge has a strong likelihood of success on the merits, and the city’s claimed harm to the public interest is based entirely on speculation.”
Watch video from the City Council meeting:
View more videos at: http://www.nbcchicago.com.