Chicago to Get Its First Gun Store

Bullseye Sport gun shop in Riverside Calif.
Bullseye Sport, a gun shop in Riverside, Calif. / AP
January 25, 2016

Despite a number of recent court cases invalidating the city's strict gun control laws, Chicago still has no gun store or range within the city limits. One man has a plan to change that.

Though Chicago eliminated its ban on gun stores in 2014, the strict restrictions they placed on where one could be located has deterred development up to this point. Christopher O'Connor has developed a plan to build both a gun store and range in the city's River West section.

"I'm sure I'm not the only person working on [opening a gun store] right now, but I think I'm the furthest along," he told DNAinfo Chicago. "It is a matter of when, not if, this happens."

O'Connor said his goal was to give residents a place to exercise their gun rights. "Right now, there's nowhere to do this in the city," he said. "There's a definite need for this. The people of Chicago have a right to exercise their Second Amendment rights."

The plan has received tepid support from local officials.

"So long as residents don't have a problem with it, I don't think it's a big deal," Alderman Walter Burnett Jr. told DNAinfo. "Everyone I run into now has a conceal carry permit. You don't want a bunch of folks to have guns and not know what they're doing with them."

O'Connor's store will be different from traditional gun stores and more "like an Apple store." Gun shops "are no longer a dank, dark, smelly spots with shelves and shelves of guns," O'Connor told the paper. "This will be an accessible store. The goal is to find the right gun for you."

The plan calls for O'Connor to spend $2 million renovating the property he plans to use and sets the end of 2016 as its goal for the shop's opening.