After their handgun ban was invalidated in the 2010 McDonald decision, the city of Chicago attempted to put up as many roadblocks to legal civilian gun ownership within the city as possible. One of those maneuvers was to use zoning laws to prohibit ranges within city limits by . . .
(1) Restricting shooting ranges only to land zoned for manufacturing purposes.
(2) Barring shooting ranges from existing within 100 feet of another shooting range, or within 500 feet of a residential district, school, place of worship, “and multiple other uses”.
(3) Banning persons under the age of 18 years of age from entering a shooting range for any reason.
Those restrictions virtually eliminated all real estate within the city of Chicago. And they also resulted in a Second Amendment Foundation-backed lawsuit against the city. A suit which the city lost in a 2017 Seventh Circuit Court decision.
Now, however, some city council members in San Antonio want to travel down the same road, ostensibly to “fight gun violence.”
Aspiring gun sellers might find it harder to set up shop in San Antonio under a pair of proposed rules limiting where firearms could be sold throughout the city — part of a larger effort by local officials to fight gun violence in the wake of recent mass shootings.
One proposal would bar retailers and gun shows from selling firearms within 1,000 feet of a school or church. Another would allow new gun shops only in high-density commercial areas.
Exactly how inconveniencing San Antonio residents who wish to legally purchase firearms would somehow reduce “gun violence” isn’t really clear.
“We regulate alcohol and where it’s being sold, daycares, restaurants,” District 2 Councilman William “Cruz” Shaw said. “There’s a lot of different zoning criteria and not to have a firearm criteria doesn’t make any sense.”
Maybe someone should explain to Councilman Shaw — an attorney who should know better — that those other activities aren’t protected in the Bill of Rights.
Texas’s preemption law prevents the outright ban of gun and ammo sales within city limits. But according to San Antonio’s reading of the law, they apparently think they can get away with it.
“We’re pretty confident that’s (sic) there’s statutory authority for us to do something in the zoning realm,” deputy city attorney Edward Guzman said.
That Seventh Circuit ruling against Chicago’s zoning laws has no bearing on San Antonio, which is in the Fifth Circuit. The 60 stores already located in San Antonio that would be in violation of the new zoning restrictions would be grandfathered in.
Besides, it’s all about giving citizens more of a voice in the businesses in their neighborhoods.
The proposals would allow residents to have more of a say in whether a retailer that sells guns or ammunition sets up shop in their neighborhood by providing more information about proposed developments, Shaw said.
“The only way it would make it more difficult (to open a store) is if the people in that community speak up and say, ‘we don’t want it,'” Shaw said.
If they go ahead with this, don’t expect much time to pass before the city is served with a lawsuit similar to the one Chicago was hit with.
Don’t touch that dial.