NILES - Northwest suburban shooting sports enthusiasts are happy that Tuesday night the Niles Village Council voted to approve a special use permit that would allow a retail firearm store and range to open in an industrial area of town.
"It would be an understatement to say that the ISRA is pleased with the village council vote," commented ISRA Executive Director Richard Pearson. "We look forward to partnering with the operators of the new shop and range to help bring high-value training and competitive shooting opportunities to the near northwest suburbs. Such opportunities have been severely lacking in recent years and we're confident that the village council vote marks the opening of a new chapter for the shooting sports in suburban Chicago."
Tuesday night's action marked the third time that the shop/range proposal had been voted on since first being advanced earlier this year.
Initially, the shop/range proposal was approved by the Niles Planning Board and sent along to the full village council for final approval. At that time, the Niles Village Council felt that more research should be conducted by the planning board into the safety and suitability of such a facility.
The proposal was voted on once again and approved by the planning board on July 7, 2014. Tuesday's vote by the full village council was the final leg in the approval process.
During the meeting's public comment period, women from the nearby Skokie chapter of the Bloomberg Moms - a New York based gun group - opposed the business and publicly criticized the character of the facility's supporters. However, the council voted to permit the gun range plans to proceed.
"I would also like to applaud the unwavering support for the facility offered by local firearm owners," continued Pearson. "Sitting through many hours of redundant and often heated testimony is not easy. I think it's also important to commend the restraint shown by our people when subjected to the in-your-face insults and personal attacks that have become the hallmark of the Bloomberg Moms group."