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Provo company takes aim at Chicago's shooting-range ban

PROVO — A Utah company that manufactures products for gun ranges has joined the fight against Chicago's latest handgun restrictions.

Chicago passed the new ordinance, which requires gun owners to be licensed but bans shooting galleries and firearm ranges within the city limits, in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court decision in June that left little doubt the city's 30-year handgun ban would fall.

Provo-based Action Target Inc. filed a friend of the court brief in the case last week, joining the Second Amendment Foundation and the Illinois State Rifle Association in challenging Chicago's restrictions.

"We believe that citizens have a constitutional right to use and train with firearms in a safe and controlled environment," Randy Graham, Action Target vice president, said in a news release.

According to the brief filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago, Action Target has recently built a number of ranges in the city and was bidding to retrofit gun ranges operated by the Customs and Border Protection Service and the Federal Air Marshals.

"It is quite obviously better for potential gun owners and, in the interest of public safety, that prospective gun buyers experience a variety of guns or at least those guns they are considering, before actually making their purchases," Action Target's attorneys wrote in court documents. "And many people are introduced to shooting and gun ownership by visiting a range prior to deciding to purchase a gun."

In June, the Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment prevents government from significantly limiting the right to keep and bear arms and that the Second Amendment "applies equally to the federal government and the states."

The ruling was similar to a 2008 ruling that struck down a Washington, D.C., handgun ban.

The court's ruling allowed room for government to place some restrictions on firearms. Last month, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley said the city expected the court's ruling and had worked to craft a "reasonable and responsible" substitute.

"Either we enact new and reasonable handgun laws in Chicago to protect our residents ... or we do nothing and risk greater gun violence our streets and in our homes," he said.

e-mail: afalk@desnews.com