Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued an opinion today to allow gun stores to remain open as “essential businesses” amidst the various municipal and county shelter-in-place orders.
The opinion concludes, “While municipal and county officials possess general emergency authority to control the movement of persons and the occupancy of premises in a local disaster area under Government Code section 418.108, such orders may not regulate or restrict the sale of firearms.”
With the ongoing pandemic, some local officials have issued shelter-in-place orders which restrict individuals from leaving their homes except for essential purposes.
There has been some debate if these municipalities can deem gun stores as “non-essential” businesses and force their temporary closure.
Earlier in the week, state Rep. Dustin Burrows (R-Lubbock) requested an opinion from Paxton on “whether or not city and or county officials can prohibit the sales of firearms by emergency declaration.”
Burrows noted that none of the orders “issued thus far have designated firearms manufacturers, firearms retailers[,] or shooting ranges as ‘essential businesses.’”
State Rep. Valoree Swanson (R-Spring) sent a letter to Paxton yesterday, requesting that he expedite an opinion on Burrows’ request.
In a press release, Paxton further explained the decision, stating, “State law provides several emergency powers to local governments to control movement within their region during a disaster, which serves our communities well during public health events like the one we’re fighting now. However, local regulation of the sale, possession, and ownership of firearms is specifically prohibited under Texas law.”
“Under our laws, every Texan retains their right to purchase and possess firearms.”
Disclosure: Unlike almost every other media outlet, The Texan is not beholden to any special interests, does not apply for any type of state or federal funding, and relies exclusively on its readers for financial support. If you’d like to become one of the people we’re financially accountable to, click here to subscribe.
Daniel Friend is a reporter for The Texan. While recently finishing his degree in Political Science from Azusa Pacific University, he also interned in the U.S. Senate and co-authored a book on C. S. Lewis’s science fiction trilogy. In his spare time, he might be reading up on Dostoevsky or attempting to write a novel.