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Attorney general tells Galveston City Council it can't stop gun shops from locating near schools and churches

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Guns at McBride's Guns in Austin on March 26, 2013. Callie Ricmond for The Texas Tribune

After Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton threatened a lawsuit, the Galveston City Council repealed a local rule this week that aimed to put some space between gun shops and schools.

Galveston previously had on its books some regulations that required a minimum of 200 feet of distance between gun stores and a school, place of worship or public park, reported The Houston Chronicle.

But in a unanimous decision, the city council voted to repeal the regulations on Thursday.

On Dec. 17, Assistant Attorney General Cleve Doty wrote a letter to the city of Galveston stating that the land use regulation violated state law. Doty requested the city rule to be overturned or else face legal retaliation, The Chronicle reports.

“The Office of the Attorney General demands that the City repeal these regulations and any like them immediately,” Doty wrote in the letter. “Rather than file litigation now, we are confident that the City of Galveston intends to comply with Texas law and will rescind regulations that are in violation of Texas law.”

This wouldn’t have been the first time Paxton sued a local government over gun regulations. In 2016 he sued Waller County over its ban on guns at its courthouse. In the same year, he sued the city of Austin for restricting residents from bringing firearms into city hall.

City Council members admitted prior to the vote that they couldn’t do anything about the state law, but some said they were not fond of Paxton’s approach and interference with local rule, reported The Chronicle.

John Paul Listowski, a city council member, told The Chronicle that he doesn’t think a lot of gun stores are going to start popping up, but he doesn’t, “like being forced to do something that we might not want here.”