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A bill to ban guns from Monroe County office buildings was rejected in committee Monday.
The County Legislature's Agenda/Charter Committee voted 3-to-2 along party lines to defeat the measure, which Democrats introduced two weeks ago amid a heightened debate over gun control nationwide.
County law already prohibits anyone other than law enforcement officers from bringing guns into buildings owned or operated by the county.
But supporters of the measure sought to close what they called "a loophole" in the law that exempts anyone with a permit to carry a concealed gun from having to check his or her firearm at the door.
"This law is certainly not meant to penalize law-abiding gun owners ... it's just meant to bring the county in line with the policies most governments have," Minority Leader Carrie Andrews, D-Rochester, said in defending the measure. "I don't believe there's any legitimate reason why somebody needs to carry a weapon into this building or any other county building."
Under questioning from Democrats, Brett Granville, a lawyer for the county, acknowledged that the law as it stands would allow lawful concealed carriers to take their firearms into county hospitals and county offices that currently screen visitors for weapons.
The County Office Building on Main Street in downtown Rochester does not screen visitors.
Several speakers voiced concerns over the proposed ban during the public forum portion of the meeting.
One was Kirk Russell, 55, of Spencerport, who recalled being accosted while running along the Erie Canal. He called on legislators to not curtail gun owners' rights.
"If it ain't broke don't fix it," Russell said. "Why are you trying to stop law-abiding citizens from protecting themselves?"
Republicans, who control the legislature and have taken heat from local gun activists over their refusal to budge on overturning a gun ban in county parks, had previously expressed reservations about amending the law.
They made no public pronouncements before casting their votes.