Should gun stores and ranges be ‘non-essential’ during ‘shelter in place?’

Should gun stores and ranges be ‘non-essential’ during ‘shelter in place’

TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Embroiled in the talk of the shelter in place effort in response to the COVID-19 scare is, oddly enough. guns, and businesses that sell them.

Should they fall under 'non-essential' is the question.

Section 229.001 of the local government code restricts city and county officials from regulating transfers of firearms. But recent emergency orders issued by municipalities across the state do not include firearm merchants or gun ranges as essential businesses.

“I believe we are an essential business. If you’re going to protect yourself, we have to be here to supply you. We take care of a lot of police officers weapons out here,” said Jeff Davis of Top Shot gun range in Longview.

Tuesday the chairman of the state ways and means committee requested a ruling on the matter from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

But when it comes to essential businesses, there’s a lot more to it than just sales.

“Earlier this morning we had a Harrison County deputy come in, his weapon was damaged. We repaired it for free, (and) we think we need to be open at all times,” Davis says.

We talked with Gregg County Judge Bill Stoudt who said the authority to do that falls to municipal and county authorities, and can only be a statute from the state.

And according to Stoudt, while gun businesses would not be listed as essential, they would not be asked to close.

The shelter-in-place would require Top Shot and other gun sales and range businesses to follow the same rules of no more than 10 people gathering, and maintain social distancing at six feet.

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