Texas Attorney General Kenneth “Ken” Paxton, Jr. called out Dallas County for disallowing the carrying of firearms at a facility that housed courts, but he did not do so when Austin City Hall made the similar move.
There has been instituted a new law in the state of Texas last year that allow its residents to question the “no gun” signs that government entities post within their vicinity, especially if said firearms are concealed guns, giving teeth to a 2003 law that solidifies the right of handgun license holders to carry guns at most state or local government property. And so, when Paxton served Dallas County with a notice of violation, it is expected that the city of Austin would receive the same notice of violation. It didn’t.
What happened was, unlike Dallas County, the city of Austin took down its “no guns” sign at its city hall, even if it kept its gun ban in place in the building which housed its courthouse. Because the notice of violation specifically focused on the “no guns” sign, when Austin took down their sign, technically, they had complied with the ordinance of doing away with the gun ban.
Also, they can be said to not be violating any new law, because the exception in the law for where guns can be banned is the “premises of any government or court offices utilized by the court”.
Some residents argue that this provision allows gun ban on any building utilized by the court – meaning, the whole building, and not merely the part of the building which utilizes the court, is subject to the gun ban. Some residents want a narrower interpretation of the new ruling.
Paxton, a Republican, is of the opinion that government buildings cannot ban guns just because a part of their location is used by the courts or has a court-like function, meaning he might not agree with how Austin interprets the new law, attorneys at the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter say.