Austin Mayor Pro Tem Alison Alter is sponsoring a city council resolution that will be considered on Thursday directing City Manager Spencer Cronk to explore options that could allow the City of Austin to prohibit the sale of AR-15s and other semi-automatic rifles to anyone below age 21.
“We are seeking reasonable gun safety legislation to restrict the purchase of AR-15 and similar semi-automatic rifles because our state leaders have failed to address the urgent threat of gun violence in our state,” said Alter. “The 18 year old murderer of 19 Texas children and 2 teachers in Uvalde used an AR-15 style weapon that he legally acquired. The 18 year old murderer in Buffalo used the same type of weapon,” Alter added. “It is incomprehensible that an 18 year old cannot purchase alcohol, tobacco, or a handgun (if nonmilitary) legally in Texas, but an 18 year old can purchase an AR-15 or similar semi-automatic rifle in our city and endanger the lives of our neighbors.”
Her resolution has the support of multiple other councilmembers, as well as Mayor Steve Adler.
“We cannot become numb to mass shootings and preventable carnage across this country. When these tragedies occur, community members look to local leaders for comfort and for answers. While I remain optimistic that the Bipartisan Gun Safety bill will bring us closer to the reform needed, making every effort possible at the local level is equally important to violence prevention,” said Adler.
District 6 Councilwoman Mackenzie Kelley has referred to this effort as a “fool’s errand” and a “snipe hunt,” pointing to the fact that city councils have no authority to set their own gun laws. According to Texas Local Government Code § 229.001 (a) A municipality may not adopt regulations relating to the transfer, private ownership, keeping, transportation, licensing, or registration of firearms, ammunition, or firearm supplies.
The agenda item appears to have plenty of support to pass muster on Thursday at City Hall.