Plan for high-end gun range in Willowbrook denied amid opposition

WILLOWBROOK -- A controversial shooting range will not be coming to the southwest suburbs after the Willowbrook Village Board voted Monday against the ambitious plan to build a high-end gun club there.

Officials had to move Monday's village board meeting to a bigger space inside a hotel in Burr Ridge to accommodate all the people who wanted to speak out against the proposal. There, residents fought City Hall- and won.

The Chicago Gun Club's initial plan called for customers to rent and fire fully-automatic machine guns. Residents were outraged, so the club’s backers backed off. Then locals learned alcohol would be served on-site, and protested again. So that idea was thrown out as well. Now they will not find a home in Willowbrook at all after facing an almost overwhelming level of opposition.

There are other shooting ranges a short drive away, but the developers of this one say it would have been exclusive, high-end, and no danger to the community.

The land where the club would go also hasn't been in high demand - no one else has tried to put anything there in 67 years, which is longer than Willowbrook has existed. Their proposal would put 31,000 feet of gun club there, with a 32-bay firing range and over $6 million dollars in annual revenue.

Many residents opposed the plan, saying it was still way too close to homes, businesses and schools.

“The proposed gun club is .43 miles from Gower Middle School and 270 feet lot-line to lot-line to the nearest residential home. What could possibly go wrong?” Zoltan Baksay said.

There was some support for the club, but not much. One resident warned trustees Monday that locals would remember this vote when they cast votes for village board in 2019.