- The Washington Times - Monday, January 25, 2016

A man is pitching plans to open Chicago’s only gun shop after the city eased restrictions on concealed handguns and arms dealers in 2014 following decades of legal challenges.

Irving Park resident Christopher O’Connor is developing plans to open Firearms Defense Training Center in Chicago’s River West neighborhood. The full-service gun range and gun shop would be the first of its kind in Chicago, the Washington Free Beacon reported.

“Right now, there’s nowhere to do this in the city. There’s a definite need for this,” Mr. O’Connor, a former member of the U.S. Border Patrol, told DNAInfo. “The people of Chicago have a right to exercise their Second Amendment” rights.

Mr. O’Connor said potential sites to develop a gun shop and range in Chicago are severely limited due to ordinances, but he believes he’s found the perfect place at a warehouse in River West. He’s met with Alderman Walter Burnett Jr. and the Neighbors of River West group to pitch his plan.

Mr. Burnett said he’ll schedule a community meeting on the proposal if it gains enough local support.

“So long as residents don’t have a problem with it, I don’t think it’s a big deal,” the alderman 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.”

If approved, Mr. O’Connor plans a $2 million renovation of the warehouse and hopes to open his business before the end of the year.

“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 said. “It is a matter of when, not if, this happens.”

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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