Central Texas Gun Works owner Michael Cargill claims Austin, Texas, is risking a $7.3 million fine rather than allow concealed carry permit holders to be armed in City Hall.
Cargill’s assessment comes after he initiated a complaint against Austin, which Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton turned into a lawsuit against the City. The complaint and subsequent suit revolve around a 2015 law requiring concealed carry to be honored in government buildings/properties. Cargill alleged that Austin’s City Hall kept its 30.06 (concealed carry prohibited) sign after the law was implemented and, even after turning the sign to reduce visibility, gave him a verbal notice that he could not carry.
The Texas Tribune reports that Paxton brought suit in May 2016, on the grounds that “Austin banned firearms in its city hall under the law’s ‘government court’ exception, which prohibits them ‘on the premises of any government court or offices utilized by the court,’ unless a written regulation or the individual court authorizes it.” But Paxton’s office indicated it could not ascertain “which government court or office utilized by a government court, if any, is located within the city hall building.”
The suit brought by Paxton is ultimately intended to bring Austin into line with the 2015 law and should Austin lose, it could also mean a hefty fine resulting in the loss of millions of tax dollars.
Cargill spoke to Breitbart News on January 8, saying he calculated the per-day fine Austin is compiling and he believes the current, total amount is around $7.3 million. He explained the the fine for day one of violating the 2015 law is “$1,000 to $1,500; the second day is $10,000 to $10,500; every day thereafter is $10,000 to $10,500 as well.” Cargill said he began tallying the penalties at the start of 2016 to date.
Even on the lesser scale of $1,500 in fines each day, Austin would owe over $1.1 million at this point.
Cargill explained the law is structured so that fines accrued via failure to comply are used for infrastructure projects around the state. In other words, in the event that Austin loses the suit, millions of local taxpayer dollars could be used to repair roads and bridges in Dallas, Lubbock, or another Texas city.
Austin asked that the suit against the city be dismissed, but on December 22, 2017, Fox 7 reported that Travis County District Court Judge Lora Livingston ruled that Paxton’s suit can proceed.
Cargill reacted to Livingston’s ruling by saying, “It’s time that our elected officials stopped violating our Second Amendment rights, and all of our Constitutional rights. It’s time that they started following the law and that is all that we ask.”
AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News, the host of the Breitbart podcast Bullets, and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sign up to get Down Range at breitbart.com/downrange.