The Rockville City Council has voted down legislation to ban the use of firearms anywhere within the city limits.
The vote, taken earlier this week, was 3 to 2.
The council then moved unanimously to draft an amendment to the city's zoning ordinance to outlaw shooting ranges in certain areas of the city.
The council was responding to a local merchant's plan to open a shooting range in downtown Rockville.
The proporal by Marshall Rosen, owner of Shooters World Inc., a firearms store, was blasted by some residents' groups at a recent public hearing.
According to Daniel Hobbs, assistant city manager, the council will condone such use of firearms in the industrial area of the city, known as Red Gate, but not in residential zones or downtown. Rosen has been seeking a firearms permit to allow him to open a target range at 25 Beall Ave., which is in the downtown district.
The proposed citywide ban on firearms was supported by council members Phyllis Fordham and John Tyner. Mayor William Hanna Jr. and councilmen John Freeland and Steve Abrams voted against it.
Rosen did not attend the council meeting Monday night. Reached by telephone later, he said he was "very upset" over the council's decision. He said a city official had told him the firearms legislation was not scheduled for discussion that night.
"They purposely kept us from attending (the council meeting) by not telling us it was on the agenda," Rosen said.
City Manager Larry Blick denied Rosen's charge, however, He said the Council agenda was made public five days before the meeting. "There is no reason why we would tell someone it (the firearms matter) wasn't on the schedule if it was," he added.