Public Safety Committee Gets Heated While Pushing for Local Gun Regulations

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Tactical assault rifles line the wall at Nagel's Gun Shop.

Scott Ball / Rivard Report

Tactical assault rifles line the wall at Nagel's Gun Shop.

It’s difficult for local Texas governments to regulate firearms in an attempt to reduce gun violence, but the City Council’s Public Safety Committee wants to give it a shot.

The Committee voted Tuesday to explore five possible avenues for regulation despite facing what could be an uphill battle in passing such governance.

Councilman William “Cruz” Shaw (D2) sparked the conversation following the May 18 mass shooting at a Santa Fe, Texas high school that left 10 dead and 10 more injured.

Deputy City Attorney Edward Guzman informed the Committee members that while state law preempts most local ordinances, there are ways to get gun regulations passed, including through the City’s zoning laws, conditions for releasing defendants from jail on bond, conditions of procurement of city business, conditions for City incentives, and the pursuit of State legislative action.

Shaw, Councilman John Courage (D9), Councilwoman Ana Sandoval (D7), and Councilman Clayton Perry (D10) all voted in favor of a motion to see the creation of ordinances through those five available avenues with a special focus on zoning and bond conditions, to be revealed at a future date.

Councilman Greg Brockhouse (D6) cast the lone dissenting vote against pursuing additional local ordinances, arguing that the City seemed to be seeking measures to limit responsible and legal gun ownership. He also said in his opening remarks that he appreciated what Shaw was trying to do “over there” in District 2 with conditions of gun violence that “my district doesn’t live in.”

“Timeout,” Shaw immediately responded. “Crime happens all over the city, not just District 2.”

Councilman William 'Cruz' Shaw (D2)

Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report

Councilman William ‘Cruz’ Shaw (D2)

Brockhouse said he made his comments based on previous conversations with Shaw on reducing gun violence in District 2. He maintained that he believed the issue had to do with reducing gun violence in the Eastside district and that none of the proposed regulations target acts of mass violence.

Shaw later told the Rivard Report that he believed Brockhouse’s statement to be “a very simplistic answer.”

“There’s so many different tragedies that occur as a result of gun violence, and mass shootings are just one of them,” he said.

To that point, Courage’s concerns addressed a need to regulate gun violence as a whole and asked about a potential gun buyback program whereby the San Antonio Police Department pays cash for guns. SAPD Chief William McManus told Courage that such a program already exists and that it’s largely unsuccessful at recovering guns typically used in violent crimes. He added that since the beginning of 2018, SAPD has captured 2,500 guns and that a violent crimes task force has seized 700.

Courage took it a step further saying the Committee should adopt regulation where people accused of violent crimes, including various forms of abuse and robbery and are released on bond, should not be able to purchase a firearm in Bexar County.

“I think that for the public safety and the community, the judges should tell them you are no longer able to carry a gun,” Courage said. “We’re not saying you are guilty, we’re saying for public safety, because of the crime that you’re being accused of, the condition of the bond should be you may not carry a weapon … [or] possess a weapon. I just think that makes sense to just about everybody.”

Guzman stressed other talking points, including revising the City’s incentive guidelines so that it doesn’t reward companies that don’t align with city policies regarding gun safety. He also noted the City could create a zoning category for firearm sales and limit the sales to a particular district, such as a C-3 general commercial district. Courage supported this idea and expressed concern that there aren’t already regulations keeping firearms stores at least 300 feet away from schools similar to liquor store regulations.

“Lord knows we don’t want kids drinking alcohol by the school,” Courage said. “We sure don’t want somebody walking in to buy a gun and walking over to the school next door.”

15 thoughts on “Public Safety Committee Gets Heated While Pushing for Local Gun Regulations

  1. Better start limiting the sales of knives and baseball bats too, while you are at it. When are you people going to take the responsibility that it is not the gun, its the demented human being that commits the violence. Please use my tax dollars wisely and work on the people problem. Start by limiting the sales of drugs!……. and especially “over there” not to say it doesnt happen in Courage’s or Brockhouse’s district.

  2. Disagree with you, Councilman Courage: Removal of firearms from someone on probation or parole, probably yes. But before the accused has gone through the court system and been convicted? Negative, no matter how unpalatable it might feel. This person is still innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

    But even then, should this be a city function? I would rather see the sheriff conduct this removal after adjudication, not city police (or, if the workload on the county dictates, they could head the task force and recruit city police to make up the majority, and have one deputy head it)

    • I think our city police are overstretched enough as it is. We’ll get no help from the state or federal government on this, though.

  3. The Council members involved in this discussion need to do a study of places like Chicago, Los Angeles, Baltimore and New York and find out why with their draconian laws against the 2nd Amendment, they still lead the nation in gun related violence and homicide, in fact, the liberals don’t even get up in arms about it. If they did, they would be admitting their failure.

    As a retired Marine, I dedicated my life to the support of our Constitution by the Oath I swore 5 decades ago today. In my view, the deputy city attorney and the listed liberal council members have placed themselves on a list of domestic enemies.

    • Talking points verbatim…Fox News and the NRA would be so proud. For fun let’s take a city you mention, lets say Chicago. Chicago did have gun ordinances that were working, pretty well actually until they were undermined by politicians who passed other laws that undermined them to the point they were ineff ed Clive. And who supported these politicians? Surprise, surprise …the NRA. So you are absolutely right, City Council does need to study those carefully to ensure the same doesn’t happen here, should they decide to pass such oridences. If anything, I would like to see an ordinance as well as a state law, that such weapons should be stored and secured. That’s part of being a responsible gun owner.

    • Retired Marine? Support our Constitution? There’s no way, Mr. Brownmiller. You are as extreme a Wingnut as any Russian bot if you seriously think that our elected local officials discussing a legitimate matter of public safety have made themselves “domestic enemies.” Just how do you propose we have civil discourse: a politburo? Scary.

  4. One would think that the City Council would address real issues such as low wage jobs, lack of affordable housing, unequal school districts.
    More unarmed people die from gun violence used by the trigger happy cops than by school shootings.
    I am not a fan of the NRA, but I believe that an armed people is necessary given today’s socio-economic and political chaos!

    • crooks don’t buy guns they steal them from hard working people trying to protect their family’s. There has not been that many officer involved shooting in San Antonio, only the county has that problem as in Bexar county Sherrifs

  5. Courage says we must “regulate gun violence as a whole” That’s very important because like in a boxing match we need rules that govern the violence.

    ” Courage supported this idea and expressed concern that there aren’t already regulations keeping firearms stores at least 300 feet away from schools similar to liquor store regulations.

    “Lord knows we don’t want kids drinking alcohol by the school,” Courage said (about zoning). Where do we want kids drinking?

    “We sure don’t want somebody walking in to buy a gun and walking over to the school next door.” No, make them walk at least 500 feet.

    Who voted for this jerk?

  6. Councilman Shaw should worry about the kids and people in his district that are killing their neighbors, before trying to impose laws on other council districts. Yet he forgets them that voted for him are probably died by now. The police department spent over a million dollars on a shot fired system to detect where shootings where happening and it did not work and Shaw asked for it to be installed in his district.

  7. There are a good number of gun shows held in Bexar County. Are the sales of guns there regulated as they are in gun stores? Can City Council do anything about that? Some Texas Republicans want to impose a 72-hour “waiting period” for any woman seeking an abortion. How about a 72-hour “waiting period” for any gun or ammunition purchase? If you need it for certain date, plan ahead.
    As for protecting the Constitution, the Constitution was AMENDED to give 18th century Americans the right to their 18th century weapons. Fine. It was also amended to correct Constitution oversight and gave certain groups voting rights. It was amended to repeal a prohibition on alcohol. How about amending it again so gun ownership is aligned with 21st century weaponry? Do citizens really need semi-autos? Really? Does a homeowner need 20 weapons? Yeah, yeah, yeah….It’s a free country. A country where everyone has the freedom to walk into a school, church, newspaper office, or movie theatre and blast away.

    • How about banning gun shows from advertising in our city? how about banning the gun shows from taking place in our city or county? Since we don’t have universal background checks yet, and many of these gun sales happen at gun shows, ban them. Gun shows represent gun violence, which is bad for our local economy.

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