It all started back in September of 2015 when a new law went into effect that gave second amendment advocates some options when signs go up on government property banning citizens from carrying.
The day the law went into effect, gun advocate Michael Cargill pointed out the City of Austin still had a 30.06 sign up at the entrance of City Hall. Then-Council-Member Don Zimmerman intervened and turned the sign around.
The sign eventually went away but the city still gave Cargill verbal notice that he couldn't carry in the building. And there's still a "no gun" symbol etched into the glass.
Attorney General Ken Paxton sued the city. Cargill’s attorney Edwin Walker explained via FaceTime from Houston.
“Both the Attorney General’s office and the City of Austin had motions, pending pre-trial motions that of course asked for very different things,” Walker said.
Travis County District Court Judge Lora Livingston’s ruling came on December 22nd.
“We commonly call those “gun busters” signs and [the ruling] said that the “gun buster” sign had no legal significance whatsoever therefore it didn't violate the statute which is good and bad,” Walker said.
The city claims that guns aren't allowed at City Hall because community court and teen court are held there on occassion. The judge agreed with the city that the gun ban should include the entire building not just the part where court is held.
“That means that basically a government could designate a room way off in the corner of the building as a court and then say 'ah ha we have a court therefore our entire building is off-limits,’” he said.
But the judge agreed with some other arguments the Attorney General made -- for example the ban should only be in effect on the days court is held.
The bottom line is -- this doesn't change anything at City Hall right now.
A city spokesperson sent Fox 7 a statement saying "We are happy with Judge Livingston’s thoughtful decision. The city will continue to comply with state law.”
But Cargill and Walker see it as a victory because the ruling provided clarification.
“A district court had the opportunity to pore out the Attorney General and did not do that,” Walker said.
Walker and Cargill say the next step is trial.
“It’s in Austin so it will be a liberal judge, a liberal jury, whoever hears this case, and I’m very interested in how that's going to come out because I know that we're going to win this case and we're going to take it all the way, we're not going to quit,” Cargill said.
We did reach out to AG Ken Paxton’s office and haven’t heard back as of news time this evening.