Controversy surrounds new gun range in Niles - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

Controversy surrounds new gun range in Niles

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - A proposed gun shop and shooting range in suburban Niles drew a packed house and a lot of emotion Monday night.

The gun range has become a hot button issue in the community because many people who live in or around Niles are concerned about the location, which would put the gun store and shooting range within a mile of schools and other places where kids would be.

However, the man behind the plan tried to ease these fears right off the bat.

"We would like to offer to anybody, if we're able to get this through and open, the opportunity to come in and learn about this. We would like to work with schools to see if there's programs that we can do to help them feel more comfortable," said Myles Cunningham, the businessman behind the proposed Sportsman's Club and Firearms Training Academy.

More than 200 people on both sides of the issue packed Monday night's meeting trying to impact the board's decision.

"I have a signature here, a petition here with nearly 1000 signatures, people from Niles, Skokie, Morton Grove, Evanston, Chicago and many other places who signed a petition to oppose a Gunshop and firearms range at 6143 Howard St. Near schools and family oriented businesses," said Jean Hedstrom from Skokie.

Rabbi Ben Greenberg from Chicago argued the location just wasn't good for the community.

"In the best interest and safety of our children to not place gun stores in firing ranges especially ones that allow children to enter, near our schools," he said.

The issue before the zoning board was not whether the gun shop and shooting range should be allowed, because it is under Niles village ordinances. At issue was whether there was any factual basis to show the proximity of gun shops to schools posed a provable danger.

Dozens of people signed up to voice their concerns, and the zoning board meeting went late into the night.

A final decision on whether to allow the gun shop rests with the Niles village board, which is expected to take up the matter later this month.

Check back later with FOX 32 News for more updates.

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