Evanston aldermen Monday night gave final approval to an ordinance that limits firearms sales to gun ranges and tries to sharply restrict the locations available for ranges without violating court rulings that say gun sales can’t be barred from a community completely.

Several people — about half of them residents of Skokie — spoke in favor of even tighter restrictions. And aldemen directed staff to look into one idea some of the speakers suggested — developing a code of conduct and set of business operating rules that could be made a condition of any special use permit the City Council might grant for a gun range.

The ordinance bars firearms ranges from being located within 350 feet of an R1, R2, or R3 zoning district or a school, child daycare facility or public park and permits them only in industrial zones and only as a special use.

The net result is to establish just five areas where a range hypothetically could be located. Four are in industrial areas along the former Mayfair rail line in west Evanston, the fifth is the CTA rail yard at Howard Street.

Deputy City Attorney Michelle Masoncup said the areas would be further restricted even within the areas highlighted on the map, because the tax parcel of any proposed location would have to be entirely within the highlighted area for a range to be legal there.

In addition, all the eligible areas are currently occupied with other active uses.

Alderman Don Wilson, 4th Ward, said he hoped any prospective gun range operator would conclude there’s not a market for their business in Evanston, given the continuing opposition from speakers at council meetings to the idea.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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