In the seemingly never-ending series of executive orders issued by Governor Pritzker, the governor has closed some gun ranges as of May 15th. On May 15th the governor published a Frequently Asked Questions document answering and summarizing some of the questions about his previous executive orders. A part of this document discusses shooting ranges, and with a stroke of his pen, Governor Pritzker has closed some gun ranges.
EDITOR NOTE: To spite the fact that the recent Executive Order stating indoor gun ranges “should remain closed”, nearly all indoor gun ranges remain open.
Page 8 of the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document (Download here: Essential-Business-FAQ.pdf (39 downloads) ) asks the questions, “Can outdoor gun ranges open to the public?” and, “What about indoor gun ranges?”. The answers to those questions are as follows…
Can outdoor gun ranges open to the public?
Outdoor gun/shooting ranges can open to the public, with restrictions. These businesses must employ the minimum number of staff necessary to maintain operations, including the range master. Congregating areas and the clubhouse must remain closed. Businesses must place social distancing by signage or other means to mark distances between users. Customers must be spaced at a minimum every other station or booth to comply with social distancing. The maximum number of customers permitted in the shooting area is half the total number of shooting booths/stations that are located at the range.
What about indoor gun ranges?
Indoor ranges should not be open to the public. However, these ranges may be used for law enforcement training and certification purposes.
The presumption is that the shut down is to keep individuals safe from the spread of Covid19. The question then becomes why is law enforcement immune to the virus? If indoor gun ranges are closed to the public, why are the indoor shooting ranges open to law enforcement?
We also should not overlook the fact that various government agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration both have mandates for ventilation at indoor ranges which makes these environments much safer than the average grocery or hardware store, both stores have been allowed to remain open. The question then becomes, if gun ranges have better ventilation that hardware stores, why are indoor gun ranges forced closed?
There is some question as to the validity of this executive order as the Governor’s emergency powers have expired. However, the state legislature is expected to meet May 20th to discuss extending Pritzker’s powers.