Women-Geared Gun Club Shot Down in Illinois

Women-Geared Gun Club Shot Down in Illinois
Jack and Marlene Shales addressing the Elgin City Council to speak out against a proposed female-geared gun club. photo from Chicago Tribuneweb photo

According to a story in the Chicago Tribune, the city council in Elgin, Illinois voted against a measure that would have made way for a new gun club with a shooting range geared toward women shooters.

The story says the gun club located in a mostly vacant strip mall on the northwest corner of McLean and College Green. Opponents are concerned because the space is "not far" from the Elgin Community College campus and across four lanes of highway from the Jayne Shover Easter Seals Center and a School District U46 preschool program, the story says.

What the city council shot down was actually a conditional use zoning variance, a text amendment, and a map amendment for using 20,000 square feet in a strip mall for the Fox Valley Shooting Club, the story says. The council also refused to modify city code to allow the discharge of firearms within the city limits, the story says.

Mayor Dave Kaptain made a motion to table the measure, which failed. But there is a chance the issue could be brought back in front of the council.

“During the Council’s discussion, (Councilmember Tony Shaw asked Elgin Corporate Counsel William Cogley how the issue could be brought back for further discussion. Cogley explained that by voting the way Shaw did with the majority, one of the majority could bring up the matter again.

“After the meeting, Shaw said that was what he intended to do.”

Mark Glavin, the man trying to open the club, says his wife and mother are his inspiration for the proposed business.

“He said conversations with them gave him the impression women felt intimidated by the setup of a gun shop. Looking for a career change after spending more than 20 years in the metal refining and recycling business, Glavin thought a gun range and shop where women felt comfortable might be a marketable idea.”

The council members who voted against the gun club said the did so because of the shop's proximity to some of the community’s “most vulnerable members,” implying the mere presence of a gun club is somehow a danger to a school on the other side of a large highway.

Elgin resident Joy Simmons said in the story she would enjoy such a facility if it were to open and that those opposed to the gun club were using scare tactics to make their points.

"I'm the type of person this business hopes to attract—a young mother, with another on the way," Simmons said in the story.

School District U46 CEO Tony Sanders said he didn't want the gun club within 1,000 feet of the preschool, because he says state statutes would require staff there to call police any time they saw a person with a firearm.

It was noted this statute was written before Illinois adopted its current concealed carry laws and Glavin explained that people using an indoor shooting range do not display their firearms outside the facility, and typically bring their firearms into the range in cases. If a person indeed does carry a firearm on their person, by the very nature of concealed carry, it cannot legally be seen by anyone.

One school employee said her concern was that preschool students, in another building across a highway, would hear gunshots from an indoor shooting range.

"Would you want (a) preschool child to possibly be hearing gunshots?" Easter Seals employee Wendy Lurgameris said in the story.

Another piece of bizarre opposition from the story further implies the people who spoke at this meeting truly do not understand the core concept of a shooting range:

“Easter Seals speech pathologist Amy VanWay said that children the facility (sic) have found their way out of the building unattended. She expressed concern that a youth might make his or her way across McLean which could lead to someone heading into or out of the gun shop getting into a confrontation in which the child might be shot."

Easter Seals is a school for children with various cognitive disabilities.

“Shaw asked Easter Seals DuPage & Fox Valley President and CEO Theresa Forthofer if any children had been able to sneak away from the facility and make their way across (across the highway), which Forthofer said had not happened.”