Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton says the sale of firearms should not be restricted during an emergency, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Paxton was asked by a Lubbock State Representative to clarify whether gun stores should be considered an essential business during an emergency, preventing them from being closed during a shelter-in-place order.
Paxton's office issued his legal opinion Friday morning, saying municipal and county authorities may not use emergency powers to regulate or restrict the sale of firearms.
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“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,” said Paxton. “Under our laws, every Texan retains their right to purchase and possess firearms.”
Under the Texas Constitution and Texas Government Code, the Texas Attorney General is authorized to advise those in government who have legal questions. The attorney general's opinions are not questioned, but they are also not binding in court and have no force of law.