Plans to build gun range near preschool go forward

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A family-friendly gun range planned for Elgin faces opposition. (WLS)

Plans to build a gun range in in a controversial location in an Illinois suburb are moving forward.

A building that houses a preschool and Easter Seals in Elgin sits right across the street from an empty strip mall space that will soon be occupied with a gun range.

The Fox Valley Shooting Club plans to build what the owner calls an "upscale, family-friendly" shooting range. The controversial plan does not sit well with neighbors who live right behind it.

"I'm not against guns. I'm not against shooting ranges. I'm against it being in a residential neighborhood across the street from a school," said Jill Atkinson, Elgin resident.

Despite the objections from many in Elgin, including the city's mayor, the City Council gave the green light to the plan after it rejected it two weeks ago. Councilman Toby Shaw reversed his vote after a rule allowed council to reconsider the proposal. Shaw called the plan a good fit for the community.

"Is there a better location? That is up to the applicant to decide. My role is does it fit zoning, meet the criteria, and I think it did," Councilman Shaw said.

Fox Valley Shooting Club owner Mark Glavin said the indoor range will not be heard or even noticed by nearby neighbors.

"There is no chance of bullets getting out of the facility, and with concrete walls and sound dampening materials, sound won't get out," he said.

Atkinson doesn't buy it.

"I'm not, because I do shoot guns so I know how loud they really are. And especially with the backstops they said they were going to put in were steel, and with a steel backstop it's louder, and the caliber that they're going to allow is high," she said.

Neighbors against the range have not lost hope; Elgin City Council will take a final vote on the plan at the next meeting. While a council member can change their vote again, the mayor doubts that will happen.

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