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Texas: Attorney General Ken Paxton Issues Key Opinion on State Firearms Preemption Law

Friday, May 31, 2019

Texas: Attorney General Ken Paxton Issues Key Opinion on State Firearms Preemption Law

On Friday, May 24, Attorney General Ken Paxton issued an important opinion clarifying Texas’ State Firearms Preemption Law.

Back in February, State Senator Donna Campbell (R-SD 25) -- whose district includes part of San Antonio -- requested an opinion from the Attorney General on three potential ordinances that a committee of the San Antonio City Council had begun studying last fall.  Her request asked whether the Section 229.001 of the Texas Local Government Code (otherwise known as the state firearms preemption law) preempted a city from enacting regulations that (1) prohibit firearm and ammunition sales within 1,000 feet of any school or church; (2) restrict the location of a business that sells guns or ammunition to the highest-density commercial areas; and (3) prohibit gun stores from locating within 200 feet of schools, public parks or places of worship.

General Paxton ruled that the proposed regulations prohibit or restrict a business or business location solely because the business involves the sale of firearms and ammunition, and a regulation which expressly identifies and prohibits gun stores from operating in a specific area is prohibited by the state firearms preemption law.  Also, an ordinance that singles out firearms and ammunition sales is similarly prohibited.  Lastly, he ruled that a violation of Section 229.001 of the Local Government Code may be enforced by the Attorney General and any plaintiff with standing under the Texas Constitution or U.S. Constitution could bring an action seeking declaratory or injunctive relief against enforcement of such an illegal ordinance. 

NRA-ILA applauds General Paxton's ruling and thanks Senator Campbell and her staff for their diligent work on the opinion request.  This important opinion affirms the intent and application of the state's firearms preemption law, an important safeguard to ensure uniformity of gun laws and to prevent cities from enacting arbitrary local restrictions that would result in a patchwork of confusing and conflicting regulations across Texas.


Texas Firearms Preemption

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.