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Waukegan makes plans for indoor gun range

A proposal by GTR Sporting Club set up an indoor gun range 3059 WashingtSt. Waukegan was recommended for approval by

A proposal by GTR Sporting Club to set up an indoor gun range at 3059 Washington St., in Waukegan, was recommended for approval by the city of Waukegan. | AP file

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Updated: September 29, 2013 2:17AM

A plan to open what city officials say is one of the few indoor public gun ranges in Lake County won a unanimois recommendation this week from the City Council’s Judiciary Committee.

The proposal by GTR Sporting Club to set up shop at 3059 Washington St. was similarly recommended for approval in a report by the city’s Department of Planning and Zoning, which gave aldermen a list of 35 conditions that “should be put in place to make sure that this is a first-class operation.”

“This indoor gun range will be the first to go through the Conditional Use Permit process and therefore will be setting a precedent as to what is to be expected,” the report stated. “Given the lack of indoor gun ranges in the Lake County area, this could be quite a destination for registered gun owners and community police departments involved in firearms training.”

Ninth Ward Ald. Rafael Rivera, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said the project would fill a foromer United Rentals facility in an area zoned for industrial use.

“It’s going to provide sales-tax revenue, (and) that building’s been empty for a least three or four years,” said Rivera, adding that the business would be subject to regulations set by the state.

Many of the 35 items reportedly were also patterned after regulations established by communities that already have an indoor public range, including Des Plaines. Among the conditions that would be put on the operation if it is approved by the full council:

• Any discharge of firearms would take place in the presence of a safety range officer possessing certification from the National Range Officers Institute or similar credentials. The range officer must be trained in “shooting safety, the safe operation of shooting facilities, first aid, and the facilities’ emergency response procedures.”

• The building would be designed “to prevent errant rounds from escaping all shooting positions,” and its operations plan must “prohibit loaded firearms except as provided by the range-safety specifications and operating procedures.”

• The business would be required to report “all known on-site and off-site gunshot wounds resulting from activity at this facility” immediately to Waukegan police, along with a report about “any deficiencies that may have contributed to the wounds.”

• “Noise attenuation measures” would be required “to dampen any noise generated from the gun range and heard outside of the establishment.” The business would have to meet the same noise standards that apply to industrial uses under city ordinance.

• The sale, consumption or possession of alcoholic beverages, non-prescription narcotics or other non-prescription controlled substances would be prohibited.

• Signage with depictions of firearms or handguns would not be allowed.

The gun range is part of an overall development plan for an auto body shop, two tenant spaces and a diner at 3056 Washington. The package is scheduled to go before the full council on Aug. 5, and if approved, the conditional-use permit would require a review of the business every 90 days during the first year of operation.

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