Austin Police Chief’s Remarks About ‘Gun Enthusiasts’ Will Likely Have Some Gun Owners a Little on Edge

Following a shooting in downtown Austin, Texas, the city’s police chief urged residents to be on the lookout for anyone “acting with a lot of hatred towards any particular group.” But he put extra emphasis on one particular group of people — “gun enthusiasts.”

“And that’s why it’s important for us as Americans to know our neighbors, know our families — tell somebody,” Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said Monday. “If you know somebody that is acting with a lot of hatred towards any particular group- especially if it’s somebody you know is a gun enthusiast or is armed with these type of firearms and they’re showing any kind of propensity for hatred- it doesn’t mean we’re going to take them to jail, but we might want to vet these people.” 

Acevedo’s comments come after police say Larry McQuilliams shot up downtown Austin buildings and tried to burn the Mexican Consulate before he was gunned down by police. Law enforcement officials said earlier this week that he harbored “extremist right-wing views” and appeared to be planning a broader attack against churches and government facilities.

McQuilliams, 49, started his attack on the consulate building and a federal courthouse. He was killed by a single shot to the chest from a police officer as he shot at police headquarters, Acevedo said. McQuilliams fired about 200 rounds, but no one else was killed or injured.

“The one mistake he made was he came to the Austin police station and we were able to take him out pretty quickly,” Acevedo also said, describing McQuilliams, a convicted felon, as a “homegrown, American extremist” and “terrorist.”

But pro-gun advocates — especially any living in Austin — will likely feel uneasy about the police chief linking a disturbed individual like McQuilliams to “gun enthusiasts” and advising residents to report them as potentially dangerous.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

(H/T: Clash Daily)

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