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Charlie T Waite

State Representative Requests Opinion from Texas Attorney General on Exclusion of Gun Manufacturers & Retailers as "Essential Businesses" in Local Emergency Orders

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Dear Texas NRA Member:

Today, State Representative Dustin Burrows (R-Lubbock), Chairman of the Texas House Committee on Ways & Means, formally requested an opinion from Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) on whether city and/or county officials can prohibit the sale of firearms through an emergency order or declaration by excluding firearms manufacturers and retailers as "essential businesses."  On Monday, the Mayor of the City of Lubbock, which is in Burrows' district, issued an order to close all "non-essential" businesses within city limits, with no exemption for gun stores.  Other cities and counties, including Waco, Austin, Bexar County, Dallas County and Travis County, have issued similar orders (a copy of Harris County's "stay at home" order was not available as this alert went out.)  

These actions by local elected officials could violate the state firearms preemption law, which restricts the authority of cities and counties to enact a patchwork of regulations affecting the sale and transfer of firearms across the State of Texas.  

During an emergency, food, water, shelter and adequate medical care are paramount for survival, but so too is the ability of an individual to protect his or herself, as well as their family, home, business and property.  The lines of customers outside of firearm retailers across Texas in recent days is testament to the fact that they believe the ability to exercise their constitutional rights protected by the Second Amendment is essential, as they may find themselves facing situations where they need to be their own first responders.  

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