Gun store zoning regulation proposals being considered are causing division among members of the San Antonio City Council.
Despite a decline in gun violence in the city, two proposals would affect any new gun stores that want to open there. One would prohibit retailers and gun shows from selling firearms within 1,000 feet of a school or church. The other proposal would allow new gun shops to open only in high-density commercial areas.
“We regulate alcohol and where it’s being sold, daycares, restaurants,” District 2 Councilman William “Cruz” Shaw said. “There’s a lot of different zoning criteria and not to have a firearm criteria doesn’t make any sense.”
Cities cannot ban or prohibit gun or ammo sales, due to Texas law. But city leaders throughout the country are trying creative ways to get around such state laws, with zoning being one of the latest tactics. In San Antionio, the city’s attorneys included definitions of “firearm,” “firearm sales” and “gunsmith.” While some retail stores might employ a gunsmith, many are individual businessmen working out of a small storefront or their home shops.
“We thought it might be appropriate to offer up certainly a solution whereas gun sales are pushed a little bit further away from neighborhoods,” said Michael Shannon, director of the city’s Development Services department.
That’s an idealistic viewpoint. Criminals are going to obtain, buy and use guns whether a store or gunsmith is located in a commercial area in town or a small business outside the main commercial area.
KSAT television reported that council members are split about the proposals.
“The problem, though, with regulating gun sales or gun control, is: We don’t need it,” said District 6 Councilman Greg Brockhouse. “Let’s not penalize responsible gun owners and gun sellers and make their lives more difficult.”
District 2 Councilman William “Cruz” Shaw supports the proposal.
“We aren’t trying to take guns away from lawful gun owners. Our intentions are solely to address gun violence by looking into any and all possible local angles,” Shaw said in a statement.
The TV station reported pro-gun advocates see the proposals as infringing on constitutional rights.
“The criminals are getting the guns somewhere else. This is a waste of resources, taxpayer monies,” said Johnny Castro, manager of A Place to Shoot range.