Austin looking to ban or limit semi-automatic weapon sales to those under 21

The City of Austin will explore ways to ban or limit the sale of semi-automatic weapons to people under the age of 21 and officials say they're already preparing for legal challenges.

District 10 Austin City Council member Alison Alter says, "This was prompted by Uvalde, by Buffalo, both situations where you had 18-year-olds who were legally able to purchase AR-15s and wreak destruction and to murder other people."

On the heels of mass shootings with young gunmen, Alter is sponsoring a resolution asking City Manager Spencer Cronk to "explore every option" to prohibit the sale of semi-automatic rifles to those under the age of 21.

"Any life lost if a life that could have been saved by not having access to any AR-15 period," Alter says. "I am the parent of a student who's in high school and anything that we can do to restrict access to air 15 makes my son safer and every other parents, kids in our community safer."

A poll published by Survey Monkey last week shows that 75% of American adults believe the minimum age to purchase an AR-15 style rifle should be 21.

Still, some, like Central Texas Gun Works owner Michael Cargill criticize the idea saying that this type of legislation simply isn't in the city's wheelhouse.

"I want the city to make sure the city understands that on a city level we really don't have the authority to regulate firearms because we have a preemptive law," Cargill says.

Texas Gun Sense Executive Director Nicole Golden adds, "The state does have preemption laws when it comes to, you know, kind of limiting municipalities from enacting safe gun laws. And I think that does a great disservice because cities are really, really struggling with their gun violence rates."

"I would say that I do not see this resolution as in direct conflict with that. I see this resolution as a way to explore what can be done," Golden adds.