Local governments must allow the sale of guns even during a pandemic, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a legal opinion issued on Friday.
Emergency powers cannot be used to regulate or restrict the sale of firearms, according to the states top law enforcement official.
“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 were fighting now. However, local regulation of the sale, possession, and ownership of firearms is specifically prohibited under Texas law,” Paxton said in a statement.
“Under our laws, every Texan retains their right to purchase and possess firearms.”
Paxtons legal opinion (pdf) was in response to Republican state Rep. Dustin Burrows, who earlier in the week asked Paxton if gun stores could fit under the label of essential businesses.
Non-essential businesses are being forced to close across the nation because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The new disease is caused by the novel coronavirus, which The Epoch Times refers to as the CCP virus because the Chinese Communist Partys coverup and mismanagement allowed the virus to spread throughout China and create a global pandemic.
Burrows, in a statement, praised Paxtons opinion, stating that having access to firearms and ammunition in the current situation “is clearly essential.”
Local governments considering temporarily banning sales of weapons and closing gun ranges “would expose Texans to serious and perhaps fatal vulnerabilities,” he added.
Some municipalities elsewhere are considering or have already issued orders for gun stores to close.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva this week said gun and ammunition stores “are not considered essential businesses.”
His decision contradicted a legal opinion from the countys counsel.
Other locales, including New Orleans, have banned or restricted the sales of firearms and ammunition.
New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts have also deemed gun stores nonessential while authorities in Ohio, Illinois, and Michigan said they are essential.
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