City of Austin Taken to Court for Violating Texas Law on Carry Rights

Black Gun Owners Open Carry
City of Austin Taken to Court for Violating Texas Law on Carry Rights

Arizona -(Ammoland.com)- –Recently re-elected in November 2018, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is taking scofflaw counties and cities to court. The subordinate government entities refuse to conform to a reform of Texas gun law.

In 2015, the Texas government passed an open carry statute. The statute went into effect on 1 January 2016.

Part of the statute was to prohibit subordinate units of Texas government, such as cities and counties, from infringing on the carry rights of legally armed Texans.

Specifically, the number of official “gun free zones” were reduced.  Gun free zones were generally forbidden in government buildings. There were exemptions, including for courts and offices used by courts. From capital.texas.gov:

(3) on the premises of any government court or offices utilized by the court, unless pursuant to written regulations or written authorization of the court;

In December of 2015, before the statute went into effect, the cities of San Angelo and San Marcos asked Attorney General Ken Paxton to issue an opinion on the new law. In the statute, premises are defined as a building or part of a building.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, when asked to clarify what “premises” of the court meant, issued a thoughtful opinion which stated it meant the courtroom and other offices of the court used for specific court functions.

Paxton further clarified the opinion, explaining what would be an offense with signage that did not conform with the Texas Statutes. Both opinions were issued in December of 2015.

In 2016, a private citizen wrote to Waller County, asking them to take down their signs. They said if they would not, they would refer the county to the Attorney General. Waller county responded with a lawsuit against the private citizen, for exercising their right to petition the government.  That lawsuit was eventually settled on behalf of the citizen. The Texas Appeals court squashed the lawsuit and ordered the District Court to reverse and require the County to pay lawyers fees and other costs.  The County appealed to the Supreme Court, which refused to hear the case, just a few months ago.

In 2016, as provided for in Texas law, other private citizens had asked AG Paxton to determine if several cities and counties were violating the statute. Several cites refused to abide by the AG's findings. They were sued to conform with the law.

Now that the Waller case has been rejected by the Supreme Court, the other cases are coming to a head.

Paxton is proceeding with the cases against subordinate government entities. In 2019, the AG office made the case that Austin should pay the $750,000 of fines that have accumulated since 2016.

On 10 January 2019, the Texas AG office issue this statement.  From texasattorneygeneral.gov:

“The city of Austin cannot defy Texas’ licensed carry laws, or any state law enacted by the Texas Legislature, simply because it disagrees with the law or feels like ignoring it,” Attorney General Paxton said. “I will always vigilantly protect and preserve the Second Amendment rights of Texans, and I’m hopeful the Travis County district court will uphold Texas’ open carry law passed by the people’s representatives.”

In July 2016, Attorney General Paxton filed a lawsuit against the city of Austin after a resident with a concealed gun permit complained of being turned away from City Hall on several occasions. Under Texas law, the city of Austin can be fined $1,500 a day for more than 500 days during which the city has barred citizens with a handgun license from bringing handguns into City Hall since the lawsuit was filed. The attorney general’s legal team asked the Travis County district court to impose a total fine of over $750,000.

There are at least two other cases extant. The case against Waller County, and a case against McClellan County (includes Waco).

Anyone of these cases will likely set precedent. The Waller county case that was appealed to the Texas Supreme Court did not address the definition of “premises” that is the crux of the scofflaw government's argument. The case against Austin seems most advanced.

The idea that only actual courts, being used as courts, can ban guns in a government complex, is a rational interpretation of the law.

It may be months before the Texas court rules on the Austin case. It is likely to be appealed.


About Dean Weingarten:Dean Weingarten

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

  • 16 thoughts on “City of Austin Taken to Court for Violating Texas Law on Carry Rights

    1. What’s the point of a fine? We’re punishing the tax payer instead of the criminal bureaucracy. Charge, arrest, try, convict and sentence a couple three criminal city officials to a nice little stint in jail. When they complete their jail term, terminate their employment and confiscate their pension. Trust me, that’ll wake ’em up!

      1. @Anthony K, Austin is a hotbed of libtard thought and illicit activity, as I hear it, so taxing them into oblivion would be alright.

    2. Texas is trying to do the right thing. Keep up the good work. I hope the tyrants don’t out vote them and change the way Texas operates. Open carry in court would stiffel some of the cockyness displayed there, maybe.You never know if the dude in the black robe is carrying or not.

    3. Austin is a deplorable nest of liberals and all they stand for. It is Texas’ version of San Francisco or Santa Fe. Sadly, Dallas isn’t much better than Austin, and Houston and San Antonio are headed that way too. It’s so good to see that there are still politicians in Texas with some cajones willing to support freedom and not political correctness. I can’t help but wonder if the influx of loonies moving from places like California, Seattle and Portland and bringing their liberal agendas with them are at least partially responsible for the rampant liberalism in Texas.

      1. We moved to Texas 2 years ago to escape the uber-liberal New England area, but we are not liberals ( the word “liberal” even makes me want to vomit ) It isn’t just the imports from other areas, the majority of “liberals, progressives, communist and other loons” we have come across seem to home grown in the great state of Texas, and you are right, in the 4 major cities. The rural areas and counties are very conservative. We must keep Texas conservative. because if we lose Texas, we lose the nation. The citizens of all of Texas are already outnumbered by just the occupants of Los Angeles county, never mind all of California.

    4. While I applaud the taking to court the embarrassing leftist bastion of Austin for just about anything, I do not see the wisdom of an open carry law, especially in urban areas. I’m awaiting my TX License to Carr y(concealed) and will carry concealed when and where authorized.
      Carrying openly has more to do with ego stroking and showing off than common sense.

      1. SO YOU do not see the wisdom of open carry. Fine. Don’t, as is your right and choice. Others DO see the wisdom for THEM to carry openly, so OUR job, whether we prefer open or concealed, or both/either as fits the occasion/location, need to suppor THEIR RIGHT to do so. You and I do not walk in their shoes, they do.

        I would not, as far as I know, but I cheered to see that state representative tesifying in some committee hearing, a nice looking revolver olainly seen on her right hip. I hope half the liberal freekazoids in the room were wetting their pants. It is NOT always ego stroking, or showing off. That woman has a strong stance in support of the Second Article of Ammendment, and was completely unafraid to prove it by testifyuing whilst armed. I’m certain she had the respect, and attention, of everyone in the room, unless they were asleep,

    5. A city attorney once told me that half of everything the city did was on bluff, that no one would want the hassle and expense of challenging them. This story from Texas simply illustrates that all government quickly moves to limit liberty, and the only advantage that places like Texas have is less of said government.

    6. Austin. Berserkeley. Seattle. Tucson. Tempe. Boulder….. How did America end up with these Bolshevik or Bolshoid enclaves?

    7. I live in Texas and cannot locate two cities mentioned in the article – St. Angelo and St. Marcos. We have two cities with similar names – San Angelo and San Marcos. Mistakes like this makes one wonder if he should be allowed to publish articles.

    8. great stuff Mr. AG! that being the case, there should be no restrictions @ dps facilities, including driver’s licensing offices or tax assessor, etc.

      1. Should be allowed in courts too. I bet a lot more justice would be served if those in attendance at trials were packing.

        1. and so thought many until a couple of very violent and desparate felons, there on appearance and in custody (complete with orange onesies) bolted and overpowered the armed deputies and marshalls, stole at least one of their duty guns, shot (killed?) a few and managed to escape. Those incidents led to a rethinking of ANYONE armed inside a courtroom.

          I’m OK with courtrooms being GUN FREE zones….. and they truly are. EVERYONE entering goes through screening, search, metal detectors, etc, and anyone who shows up armed and so declares is given a locked secure safe storage locker for his sidearm, and HE has the key.

          If they’d do tht with the schools, then I’d be fine with continuing the gun free designation for those areas, but the multiple times per day screening of every kid coming andngoing, searching ,etc, has been deemed “objectioinable” for the kids (I’d agree…) and to costly//time consuming. It would be a useless money sink for a feel good temporary situation, as SOME KID would figure out how to get round it, and still shoot up the joint. But the traffic at courtrooms is pretty minor, easily dealt with in a few minutes. My local courts take a very relaxed but vigilant attitude, and are VERY courteous and helpful when it comes to checking my own personal weapon.

          1. Hmmm, I know many trial court judges that are armed under that robe for just the circumstances that you offer. Many trial court rooms only appear to be gun free. That is for the peasantry.

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