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San Antonio Considers Zoning Regulations For Gun Stores

Joey Palacios
Texas Public Radio
San Antonio Police Chief William McManus speaks to the council's public safety committee about reported gun violence in San Antonio in 2018

San Antonio may regulate where gun shops can set up in the city. The City Council’s public safety committee on Tuesday passed initial recommendations that would restrict gun stores and gun shows from setting up near neighborhoods and schools.

The proposal would create a new zoning classification for firearms. As a result, gun shows and businesses that sell guns would be restricted to operating in areas zoned as high-density commercial, known as C-3. Existing gun shops would be grandfathered in and allowed to remain in their current locations.

District 2 Councilman Cruz Shaw, who chairs the public safety committee, says the idea was first examined by the committee after the school shooting in May in Santa Fe, Texas, outside Houston.

“Personally it hit home because I’m from Houston and it’s very close to my hometown. We kept hearing thoughts and prayers, everyone is talking and talking but no one I really taking action,” he said.

The zoning change would enable residents to protest any plans to locate a gun-selling business near a neighborhood.

Credit Joey Palacios / Texas Public Radio
Texas Public Radio
Councilman Cruz Shaw is chair of the City Council's public safety committee.

“It’s more than just gun violence, it’s about being transparent with our communities as well. When we have zoning changes and they know what zoning change is coming, they can be more outspoken to say ‘I don’t want that coming here,’ ” Shaw said.

He said it would allow for more transparency.

“We designate certain things like childcare; we designate alcohol sales; we designate sporting facilities, but we don’t designate firearms — it hides under sporting goods. I think it’s that much of an issue that we need to pull it out and isolate it so people know what’s being built,” Shaw said.

The city is also researching the possibility of creating 1,000-foot gun-free zones around schools. The measure passed on a 3-2 vote. Council members Shaw, Ana Sandoval of District 7, and John Courage of District 9 approved it.

Council members Greg Brockhouse of District 6 and Clayton Perry of District 10 voted against the measure.

The proposal is not finalized. Parts of it will be reviewed by another committee of council members before it comes up for a full council vote.

Brockhouse attempted to table to the item until more information was gathered about the potential impacts but it failed 2-3. He said the city did not conduct enough research before proposing it.

“I don’t believe we have received a fair legal assessment from the city attorney himself to describe what our risk is in moving any one of these forward for consideration,” Brockhouse said. “I think the legal aspect of it needs to be honored first to make sure we are making decisions that are keeping us out of court.”

Two additional measures relating to gun possession by certain people out on bond, and the governor’s School and Firearm Safety Action Plan in the city’s 2019 legislative agenda were sent the council’s intergovernmental relations committee for further review.

Joey Palacios can be reached at Joey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules.

Joey Palacios can be reached atJoey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules