Austin City Council says no to gun rights activist’s board appointment

Michael Cargill at his business Texas Gun Works. (KXAN Photo)
Michael Cargill at his business Central Texas Gun Works. (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin City Council Member Rita Ora Houston is defending her decision to nominate Michael Cargill, owner of Central Texas Gun Works, to a city advisory board.

When Council Member Houston nominated Cargill to the Bond Election Advisory Task Force, some people questioned her judgment. One person on Twitter called Cargill a “fringe extremist” while another person stated he “politicized a student’s death” referring to Haruka Weiser’s death and the campus carry discussion.

Along with being a business owner, Cargill is also the executive director for Texans for Accountable Government, a political action committee focused on limiting government overreach.

Houston says the task force she nominated Cargill to is charged with identifying and prioritizing bond funding for projects, which can include libraries, housing and parks. In a tweet, Cargill said his nomination “has nothing to do about guns.”

“I stand by my decision to recommend Mr. Cargill because I believe that he has the skill sets and the willingness to do this work for District #1 and the City of Austin. This is about acknowledging that there has been a lack of diversity, different views and perspectives that each appointee brings to the conversation. It’s important that I continue the mission I set out to do when I ran for election, to provide opportunities to different voices,” said Houston in a statement.

Even though Houston was pro Cargill, as was Council Member Ellen Troxclair, the rest of the Austin City Council didn’t think he would be a good fit and denied his nomination 2-7 during Thursday’s City Council meeting. This isn’t the first time a polarizing person has been turned down for a spot on a city commission. In 2015, police critic Antonio Buehler was nominated by then-Council Member Don Zimmernan for the Public Safety Commission.

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