DuPage shoots down plan for gun range
By Lynn Van Matre
Tribune staff reporter
Published October 6, 2004
A controversial proposal to build a recreational shooting range on DuPage County Forest Preserve District property was officially laid to rest Tuesday after months of debate.
Forest Preserve Commission members voted unanimously to concur with findings of a district special recreation committee that no suitable site for a gun range could be found on district land or on properties being considered for acquisition because of concerns about noise and "incompatibility with natural resources."
The committee, which included commissioners Joseph Cantore, Roger Kotecki and Carl Schultz, had announced in June that forest preserve staff had concluded no suitable site could be found.
They had voted 3-0 in committee to accept staff findings, but the fact that no full board vote was taken had triggered ongoing speculation among environmental activists and others that the issue had not been shot down for good. At least two challengers for forest preserve commission seats in the upcoming election have made the lack of a full commission vote on the matter a central campaign issue.
"We've been inundated with e-mails about this," said Commissioner Wallace "Wally" Brown, one of several commissioners who wanted a full vote taken on the matter.
Brown said that the reason it had taken so long for a commission vote was that "you have to go through all the steps" and that "a fair number of [area residents] did want a gun range."
But Brown said that some range opponents' claims that the district was "under pressure from the NRA [National Rifle Association]" to build a range was false and that some people were "just trying to cause dissention."
First broached last year by Cantore on behalf of what he described as hundreds of area gun owners, the range proposal drew outraged criticism from representatives of several area environmental groups.
Commissioners are continuing to consider whether gun ranges should be deleted from a list of possible land uses cited in the district's recreation policy.
Commissioner Gwen Henry suggested that a vote on the recreational policy take place as soon as possible. It should be on the Oct. 26 agenda.
Damn...I didn't think the yuppie soccer moms would allow it.