Michael Cargill Wins Right to Pack Heat at City Hall
Court rules in favor of local gun enthusiast, City fined for violating open carry statute
Local gun enthusiast and entrepreneur Michael Cargill last week won his years-long struggle against the city of Austin over his right to carry his weapon into Austin City Hall. Cargill filed the suit in 2015 after the city, in the wake of the state's legalizing open carry in most public places in Texas, declared City Hall an around-the-clock gun-free zone on the basis that it (sometimes) hosts courts and other functions where guns are not permitted. Cargill railed against the decision on his radio show on KLBJ-AM and in court as a violation of his Second Amendment rights, now protected by Texas statute. After a protracted legal battle that (of course) was joined by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, Travis County District Judge Lora Livingston ruled on Jan. 17 that the city must comply with the 2015 law as it was intended. Cargill, and any other licensed holder, can now bring his gun into the building as long as there isn't a Council meeting or court hearing in session. Livingston also fined the city $9,000 for violating the statute – much less than Paxton had wanted, with the judge levying the statutory fine only for those days when the AG's own investigators were disarmed at the City Hall doors. "Consistent with the Court's order, we will continue to ban handguns from City Hall during those times when the legislature's limitations allow, and we will be amending our communications to clarify when our handgun ban will be in effect," the city said in a statement. Cargill captured his triumphal armed entry into the hall for posterity on his social media.