Planned Gun Shop, Firing Range Stirs Controversy

Planning commission to vote on proposed facility Tuesday

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Students, parents speak out against proposed business. NBC 5's Natalie Martinez reports. (Published Monday, Jun 23, 2014)

    Some Niles residents are crying foul over plans for a gun shop and firing range within a mile of two schools.

    The business is planned for the 6100 block of West Howard, close to Nile West High School and New Hope Academy.

    Niles West senior Alexander Brown says the very thought of a gun store near his school is frightening.

    "I think it's a question of should we have it so close to a school to the point where it threatens the safety," Brown said. "I'm extremely angry about it. People think it's OK but it's also kind of terrifying."

    "I just don't like the idea of something like that being so available, so close to a school, so close to several schools, one of which caters to children with emotional difficulties," parent Mary Anne Brown said.

    Niles Mayor Andrew Przybylo said he doesn't "feel good about it," but points out that the facility will mostly be used by police officers.

    "I get it. Unfortunately, at the federal level, there's a mandate that says selling a firearm is not an illegal activity," said Przybylo, who also rejects the notion that putting a gun shop near schools provides easy access for potential mass shooters.

    "People who shoot other kids indiscriminately get the guns from the parent's house, or sometimes they'll get them at a gun show."

    But Mary Anne Brown disagrees.

    "To have a gun shop available to them ... it's just too much of a temptation," she said.

    The planning commission will vote on the gun shop at its Tuesday night meeting.