A proposed law to ban sport shooting in Rockville brought a number of protesting gun enthusiasts to a city council meeting earlier this week.
The law, proposed by councilman John Tyner, would stop the opening of a shooting range in a downtown shopping center.
The range, at 25 Beall Ave., had city approval, range owner Marshall Rosen said, but a required operating permit was recently suspended.
A public hearing on the shooting ban, to include skeet and trap ranges, is slated for Nov. 10, a city official said.
Rosen and a string of supporters who appeared before the council said fears about ranges are unfounded.
"We're offering a place where people can receive training so we can avoid tragic accidental shootings," he said. He said the spot of target shooting is extremely popular in the area with few ranges accessible to the public.
Tyner told Rosen he considers the range "an inappropriate use for the city's town center," in light of the city's plan for redeveloping its business district.
"We've put so much effort into downtown. Is this what we really want?" he asked.
Tyner said his proposal has already received the support of citizen groups in the residential communities adjacent to downtown.
"Citizens don't want people wandering around with guns. They're uneasy about having a drawing card for weapons."
Rosen said gun control laws prohibit people from carrying loaded arms without a permit. Only ammunition for shooting purposes would be sold at the range. He added that sport shooters usually carry guns in cases.
The area surrounding the range would probably become the safest in the city, Rosen predicted, since the range would be frequented by area police for target shooting practice.
In other business, the council approved a$2,514,497 contract with Robert J. Henley Construction Co. of Rockville to build an addition to Rockville City Hall. The addition, to be completed in about 18 months, will centralize many of the city services into the building at Maryland Avenue and Vinson Street.