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Of course he thinks that’s “essential”

Doesn’t get any more on-brand than this.

Best mugshot ever

Gun stores are essential business and should be allowed to remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said Friday.

Paxton said in his nonbinding opinion that state law prevents cities and counties from “adopting regulations related to the transfer, possession, or ownership of firearms, or commerce in firearms.”

Rep. Dustin Burrows, R-Lubbock, on Tuesday requested that Paxton’s office weigh in on whether firearm sales can be listed as essential businesses by local officials, as businesses across the state have shuttered due to shelter-in-place orders designed to slow spread of the new coronavirus.

“Having access to tools of self-protection, hunting and for keeping your property safe and secure is always essential. It’s even more essential for access during times of uncertainty and emergency,” Burrows said in a written statement.

Many cities and counties had not designated gun retailers, ranges or manufacturers as essential businesses in their stay-at-home orders, Burrows said in his letter. However, San Antonio and Dallas County did exempt the fire arms businesses.

“It does not appear that cities or counties have the authority to restrict the transfer of firearms, even during a natural disaster,” Burrows wrote in his request.

The opinion comes less than 72 hours after the agency received Burrows’ request — a remarkably fast turnaround on a process that routinely takes weeks or months.

That’s because this process normally requires research and inquiry, and leave open the possibility of an answer that doesn’t conform to one’s initial inclinations. Couldn’t take any chances on that here, obviously. People need to be able to defend themselves against that virus. I recommend very small-caliber bullets.

AG opinions are not binding, of course, so a city or county could go ahead and impose a ban on gun stores anyway if they wanted to. That would leave it up to a court to decide; there’s a fight over this already happening in California, where gun stores were (also not surprisingly) not classified as “essential”. I rather doubt any Texas municipality would want to expend that kind of effort when there are more important things to do, but they could if they chose to. The whole thing is ridiculous, but here we are.

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10 Comments

  1. Jason Hochman says:

    You might need a firearm when they start to release indigent inmates and the police limit their responses to calls.

  2. C.L. says:

    Jason, why would the Police be limiting their response to calls ?

  3. Jason Hochman says:

    CL, not here yet, but look for example at Cincinnati. They announced their “differential response plan” which basically means, if you call, they ain’t coming if there is a raid on your toilet paper stash. Plus, I think that their chief tested positive for this virus. Departments could see a high rate of officers out, due to exposure and then quarantine, which might prevent the entire department being infected.

    https://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/crime/crime-and-courts/2020/03/23/coronavirus-cincinnati-police-limit-response-assaults-other-reports/2904821001/

  4. Bill Daniels says:

    C.L.:

    The longer this goes on, the more likely it is that the social fabric of the country will break down. You make people jobless, broke and desperate and I guarantee you’ll see rioting and general unrest. See: Venezuela. There aren’t enough police for that kind of situation.

    So, add unleashing criminals on the community with stripping people of their dignity and livelihood by telling them their jobs are ‘not essential’ and sorry, you can’t earn a living anymore and….it’s only a matter of time before we see rioting and insurrection. Bringing in state troopers, the State Guard, etc., will help, but will be even more corrosive to morale than making people jobless. Why do you think the school districts are all handing out food? They are trying to pacify the section of the populace most likely to feel desperate and start pillaging.

  5. C.L. says:

    The sounds like the Doomsday predictions I heard leading up to 01 January 2000…you know, when the world’s computer were all going to crash en masse and SkyNet was going to boot up…

  6. Bill Daniels says:

    C.L.:

    Yeah, I laughed at people about that one, too. Turns out, people were so scared, I scored lower prom tickets for ZZ Top way below face value from a scalper. They were all dumping the tickets because everyone was convinced the world was going to end. My buddy bought a few brand new trash cans to fill with water in case the water got shut off. I laughed about that, but if you keep America shut down, all those people who aren’t allowed to work will run out of savings, if they had any, and start getting desperate when they know they are just however long it takes for the moratorium on evictions and foreclosures to end before they are homeless due to unpaid back rent or unpaid mortgage payments. Those people facing homelessness, facing utilities being cut off, vehicles being repossessed, and not being able to work, will have little to lose. Cue violence and insurrection.

  7. Wolfgang says:

    Re: “differential response plan” (police and maintaining public order)

    There is, by necessity, always some prioritizing (rationing) because resources are never unlimited (with a few exceptions perhaps, such as money supply, which can be created out of nothing by central banks). So, there is nothing inherently wrong with prioritizing some emergency public safety calls over others. That’s how the 911 system works under normal conditions.

    Accepting the premise that the police will not be able to maintain order (even if supplemented by the National Guard), and that only self-defense with firepower will do, there would still be the problem of what to do with all the bodies the food-seekers you shoot from your balcony or 2nd-floor window, who will remain pathogen carriers at least for a little while once they found their interim final resting place in your front or back yard. And even if they are not virus carriers (or you assume so), what are you going to do with all those human carcasses?

    Secondly, as long as the food supply and basic services are assured (and evictions put on hold), there is no reason to be concerned about hordes of have-nothings roaming the streets (i.e., numbers above the current level). Just make sure those stuck at home have TV to watch and internet. If push comes to shove rice and beans will do to meet basic caloric intake needs for a while, assuming there is an adequate supply of potable water, which is more time-sensitive.

  8. Joel says:

    Notice that the same people who demonize socialism are the ones convinced that the fabric of society is about to break down.

    Huh.