Texas AG Gives Opinion On Gun Shops

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Anyway I can bother you to sum up in text as I’m on poor internet

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yeah, sure thing. so there were several cities and counties in Texas, mostly places like DFW, Houston, Austin, etc that issued stay in place orders and were forcing gun shops to close saying they were non essential businesses. pushing back, there was an opinion request submitted to the AG on whether or non gun shops were essential and whether or not these orders could be enforced on them. so shortly after the requests were made a few of these places flipped their position and said that is was essential for gun shops to stay open. but a few stuck to their guns. the ag issued an opinion that gun shops were in fact essential. he cited existing texas government code, code that was actually just updated last year by our legislature, where government cannot force gun shops to close in these types of situations, disasters, etc. so basically, cities and states can order whatever but since it is against code, there is no way to enforce it, so some holding on have reversed the decision to label shop as non essential. there are still a couple places with standing orders but if shops violate it there is nothing that those counties or cities can do to actually enforce it without risk of getting the crap sued out of them. for those of us up to speed on texas law and the AG, this really wasn’t a surprise.

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I had been following this since I also live in TX. I’m glad the AG clarified that issue with his opinion.

However, there’s still the issue of gun ranges, particularly private, members-only outdoor gun ranges. One such private range I belong to is in Kaufman County, a supposedly conservative county adjacent to Dallas County.

Almost all these shelter-in-place county orders include an exception for individuals to participate in “outdoor activities” as long as proper social distancing is observed. None of these orders (all of which appear to be copy and paste verbatim versions of one and the other) include a definition of “outdoor activities.” Instead, they list specific examples as walking, hiking, biking and running.

When I heard about Kaufman County’s shelter-in-place order, I specifically asked their Sheriff’s Department if outdoor target shooting was included in the order’s exception for individual “outdoor activities.” I was emphatically told it was not, unfortunately.

Now, I’m a bit of a germaphobe hypochondriac. So I definitely don’t want to get this thing. I do my part and really haven’t gone anywhere except to get food at take-outs and drive-thrus. But I seriously doubt I can get any kind of virus at an outdoor range, especially a members-only one that sees much less traffic than a public one and which includes shooting bays separated by thick, high berms a good distance apart. I feel I have less than a chance of contracting or unknowingly transmitting a virus at the range than I would walking outside in my neighborhood. So I’m both confused and disappointed in their quick interpretation of “outdoor activities” that doesn’t include outdoor target shooting.

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@Equin yeah the range thing sucks a bit… all of them around here are open. my opinion is it is a bit of a stretch to claim ranges are essential… at least compared to shops. maybe we push those to be included in the code next session. but, the owners can always voluntsrily close too. i know several shops here are closed… they have no guns or ammo left LOL

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Well, liquor stores of all places are considered “essential” - lol. But for me, it’s not so much that a private, members-only gun range be considered essential. It’s that outdoor target shooting should be included as an allowable “outdoor activity” as long as social distancing is followed. I can understand the increased risk of transmission in an indoor range open to the public, though.

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i think what makes even less sense is that you can still go shoot on public land… hmm, not nearly as safe as a range

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Both of my private gun clubs are completely closed right now. Michigan has deemed them nonessential.

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Liquor stores stay open or there would be a meltdown sooner than later. If they lock down the tri state/NYC area there will be big problems. No booze no drugs - their skin will be crawling in hours.

BTW If your drunk or high in a crisis you are absolutely worthless to anyone. Let me correct that - less than worthless -you are a burden

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Here in PA, the state has a monopoly on liquor stores. There are no privately owned businesses that sell hard liquor. Our governor shut down all the state stores and shut down the PA game commission rifle ranges.

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No booze and guns? That will definitely ruin the weekend for many folks. :grin:

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Lol! No booze but we can buy guns. Governor closed gun shops but that didn’t last long. My lgs is now open but you have to call first to schedule an appointment.

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i have no problem with that, we gotta take precautions somehow and if appointments cut down on the number of people in one place at one time, why not. there are several shops here doing the same type thing… some are closed by their choice to stay safe and others are closed because they have sold out of everything. everyone has to do what they have to do but being forced by the government is the big issue

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@Equin, have you looked at ETTS in Maypearl? It is closer to you and I know it is open. A buddy of mine is a member and called to find out.
They are a private/public range with multiple outdoor stations for pistol and short rifle. They have some member only areas with longer distances out to 1200 yds.

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Thanks for reminding me of ETTS. I’d love to be a member since they’re much closer to me, but they’re kind of pricey at $600 per year. By contrast, the range I belong to is $175/yr, but it’s over an hour away northeast of Terrell.

My range remains open, too. But the Kaufman County Sheriff’s Department explicitly and emphatically told me target shooting at the range is not included as an excepted “outdoor activity.” So I’d risk having one of the neighbors call the Sheriff and getting a $1000 fine for violating the county’s shelter-in-place order.

I’m guessing the Ellis County Sheriff’s Dept. has a different interpretation of “outdoor activity.” My wife’s business is considered essential, and she’s seen much more LEO patrols in Waxahachie, presumably to enforce the order. I don’t know if they’ve ticketed ETTS members for going to the range, but I doubt it since I’m sure we would’ve heard about it.

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well, if is open, i think i would go and not worry about it. since the POTUS has declared the firearm industry essential, if i did get a ticket, i would fight that in court and maybe even sue the sheriff’s office in civil court as well… just me.

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Yeah, I read elsewhere of the feds critical infrastructure advisory update:

https://www.cisa.gov/publication/guidance-essential-critical-infrastructure-workforce

It’s under Law Enforcement, Public Safety and First Responders. Mind you, it’s just an advisory and not federal law, though.

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