Evanston aldermen this week voted to increase the distance requirement for gun ranges from schools and homes but didn’t raise it as much as some residents had sought.

Several speakers suggested imposing a minimum separation of 500 feet or more, but Corporation Counsel Grant Farrar told aldermen that would create what would a mount to a de facto prohibition on gun ranges — something not permitted under recent Supreme Court rulings and state legistlation.

But aldermen wanted more than the 250 foot separation that had been included in an ordinance Farrar drafted.

After a bried discussio,n the aldermen settled on a 350 foot separation and approved the new limit unanimously.

All the sites that would qualify as possible locations for a gun range, even under the 250 foot rule, are currently occupied by other businesses, and Farrar suggested that since there are 20 gun ranges in the Chicago area, including ones in Des Plaines and Morton Grove, that there may not be “any economic interest” in establishing one here.

The ordinance bans gun sales in the city, except at a licensed gun range. Any proposed gun range would also have to go through the city’s special use permit approval process.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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