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Texas Attorney General Sues City of Austin Over City Hall Gun Ban

Miguel Gutierrez, Jr/KUT

Today, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit against the City of Austin and members of the Austin City Council over the city's efforts to ban guns from Austin City Hall. 

Paxton filed suit in Travis County District Court, saying the city has etched a "No Guns" sign into the glass outside the entrance to City Hall, which the Attorney General's office argues violates a state law that prohibits government entities from banning guns in most types of facilities.

The legal action began after a complaint was filed with Paxton's office in September of last year, when the state law banning gun bans on many government properties went into effect. The complaint alleged the city was still displaying a sign advising that concealed carry was prohibited at City Hall. The City later removed that sign. But, Paxton says in the filing, in April, his office received another complaint that the City had etched a new sign and was verbally warning people that handguns are prohibited in City Hall.

The suit asks a judge to impose a fine and force the city to remove the sign and allow licensed gun owners to carry their weapons into City Hall.

The City of Austin issued a statement in response to the lawsuit late this afternoon:

The City's position has remained consistent. It is a criminal offense under Texas law to possess or carry a handgun on the premises of a government court or offices used by the court.  Because the City of Austin Municipal Court conducts court proceedings in the Austin City Hall building and maintains office space for court personnel we believe state law prohibits possessing or carrying a weapon in City Hall (except by law enforcement personnel). We are prepared to defend this lawsuit and look forward to having this matter resolved by a court.

You can read the entire filing below:

Matt Largey is the Projects Editor at KUT. That means doing a little bit of everything: editing reporters, producing podcasts, reporting, training, producing live events and always being on the lookout for things that make his ears perk up. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @mattlargey.
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