Gun stores considered essential business in Texas during pandemic
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton declared Friday in a statement that gun stores should be classified as essential businesses, allowing them to remain open amid shutdowns dozens of counties in the state have imposed on local businesses to stem the spread of coronavirus.The Houston city limits extend beyond the boundaries of Harris County in several directions. Back in the late sixties and early seventies, Houston did "strip annexations" down major thoroughfares that extended its extraterritorial reach several miles either side of the strip. That meant no towns or cities could incorporate in those areas and they were subject to annexation by the city. The city had to approve developments within these areas and annexed them once the development reached a certain point.
“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, who received an A+ rating from the National Rifle Association (NRA).
“Under our laws, every Texan retains their right to purchase and possess firearms,” he added.
Paxton's statement is a nonbinding opinion.
Texas, the country’s second-largest state by population and landmass, has not issued a “stay at home” order, though dozens have been issued at the local level across the Lone Star State, with varying interpretations of the term “nonessential businesses.”
Harris County, which has a population larger than 14 U.S. states, issued a stay at home order on Tuesday, though some gun retailers in the county remained open. One county official told the Texas Tribune the “clear intent is for this order to be interpreted narrowly," though enforcement of such orders is spotty.