Eric Zorn is a columnist and blogger for the Chicago Tribune who writes the “Change of Subject” blog for the them. He readily acknowledges that he is not a shooter. He also recognizes that the Range Law passed by the Chicago City Council is an ugly monstrosity.
In a post entitled City misfires in passing new gun-range law Zorn skewers the City Council and the hastily passed ordinance. He calls the law and its passage a “legislative raspberry” that taunts the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals just after the city got slapped down in Ezell. It is a taunt because of all the inane burdensome rules contained within it.
In anticipation of Wednesday’s “stop-playing-silly-games” ruling, Ald. James Balcer, 11th, chair of the Public Safety Committee, introduced a 24-page ordinance that, technically, allows for the construction and operation of indoor gun ranges within the city limits.
I say “technically” because the restrictions the law places on those who want to open private gun ranges are so brazenly burdensome experts doubt anyone will even try.
The Chicago Law Department defended the high cost and onerous restrictions for ranges saying they reflect the costs of inspections and background checks. Moreover, they defended the location restrictions as consistent with other “adult-use” businesses. Alderman Balcer says the restrictions are all about safety because “gun ranges are very dangerous.” Zorn’s response?
If so, the city has offered no proof; no statistics or studies that support treating gun ranges as though they were noisy offal-processing plants instead of recreational facilities that simply require a lot of insulation.
I’m not a shooter, so why do I care?
First, because it seems to me like a good idea that those who do own guns are in practice and know how to aim their weapons.
Second, because I hate to see a city facing such huge debts passing laws that so flagrantly attempt to skirt the intent of the Supreme Court that they’re doomed to be overturned after expensive legal challenges.
This ordinance isn’t even too cute by half. It’s just ugly.
Zorn obviously inherited some power of reason from his mathematician grandfather. Too bad the members of the Chicago City Council and Mayor Rahm Emanuel weren’t so fortunate.