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Posted on: June 8, 2018

Willowbrook - Federal Court Dismisses Second Amendment Challenge to Village Zoning Decision

On June 6, 2018, Federal District Court Judge Charles Kocoras dismissed a federal lawsuit challenging the Village’s decision to deny a rezoning request which would have allowed a 31,000 square foot indoor shooting range at 79th Street and Frontage Road.

In April, 2017, following extensive public hearings, the Board of Trustees voted to deny the gun range request. The owner and developer filed suit in federal court. Their primary complaint was that the Village’s decision violated the Second Amendment rights of the developer as well as the rights of individuals desiring to facilitate their Second Amendment rights by practicing at gun ranges.

In an extensive opinion, Judge Kocoras rejected these claims. In particular, the Court noted that gun ranges are allowed as special uses in the Village’s B-4 zoning district. The fact that there may not be any B-4 land presently available for a gun range is not attributable to any hostility on the part of the Village, but rather to the realities of the marketplace, and, as the Judge noted, "the free market is not a party to this case." The Court also pointed out that there are a number of gun ranges and similar uses within close proximity to Willowbrook, so that those people who want to advance their shooting skills have ample opportunities to do so.

In commenting on the decision, Village Administrator Tim Halik stated: "The Village is very gratified with this ruling. We have taken significant steps to respect the Second Amendment rights of gun owners by way of our zoning ordinance. This particular property simply was not in a zoning district which would allow gun ranges, and the Board concluded that a zoning change was not appropriate. From the start, we viewed this to be a state zoning dispute rather than a federal civil rights case, and we are pleased that the Judge agrees with this view."

Click on the link below to read the full court decision.

Full Court Decision
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