by Morgan Montalvo
Future commercial gun store sales in San Antonio could be regulated via the city’s zoning authority, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
The city’s Public Safety Committee on Wednesday voted 3-2 to recommend to the full council guidelines for restricting new firearms dealers to areas at least 1,000 feet from schools or churches.
Existing gun stores would not be affected by any new ordinances.
Committee Chair and District 2 Councilman William “Cruz” Shaw says the intent is to increase gun safety city-wide while steering clear of Second Amendment concerns or the state’s gun sales-friendly laws.
“We’re not precluding the sale of any firearms, or transferring, or hindering any firearms; we’re just giving a designation so people in the community know what’s being established around their neighborhoods,” Shaw says.
The committee’s suggestions next go to the full council for consideration during an upcoming “B” session, during which council members receive briefings from city staffers on a range of items, but during which no action is taken.
Any formal vote, in this case on an amendment to the local Unified Development Code, would take place during an “A” session after public comments - something National Rifle Association lobbyist and state director Tara Mica hopes can be prevented.
"While we’re glad to hear that it would grandfather in existing businesses, the fact is what they’re considering doing in our opinion clearly violates the state Firearms Preemption Law,” says Mica, who drove from Austin to attend the committee meeting.
Mica says according to the preemption statute, part of the Texas Local Government Code, “cities still have the power to use zoning to regulate the location of a business, but not insofar as it would amount to a municipal regulation of transfer, possession, et cetera, of firearms.
“Clearly, what they’re trying to do is regulate the transfer of firearms,” Mica says Representatives of another firearms rights group, Open Carry Texas, also were on hand to observe and address the committee.
Shaw says citizen safety and awareness, not governmental overreach, are behind the committee’s favoring re-zoning requirements for future weapons dealers.
“We do it for alcohol, as well as for other entities. Why can’t we do it for firearms?” Cruz asks.
PHOTO: S.A. Public Safety CommitteE Chair and Dist. 2 Councilman William "Cruz" Shaw, center rear, listens to a briefing from the city's legal staff during Wednesday's meeting to explore anti-gun violence strategies.
Photo by Morgan Montalvo