Dear Texas NRA Member:
On Wednesday, we reported to you on House Bill 2249 and Senate Bill 18, NRA-backed bills which establish that firearms and ammunition manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, suppliers and retailers are essential businesses that shall not be prohibited by state or local officials from operating during a declared disaster or emergency.
Since then, several more measures with this NRA-supported language have been filed: House Bill 3, by Rep. Dustin Burrows (R-Lubbock), a comprehensive bill relating to the emergency powers of state and local officials specifically during a pandemic, and House Bill 1500, by Rep. Cole Hefner (R-Mount Pleasant), identical to House Bill 2249 but assigned a lower bill number so it can be referred to, and be eligible for, committee action sooner. We appreciate Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) and Rep. Burrows for ensuring that this critical language is included in one of the House priority bills, HB 3, and for granting HB 2249 a lower bill number, now HB 1500.
COVID-19 and uncivil disorder have illustrated that in times of crisis or uncertainty, Americans buy guns. Last year, as concerned citizens across the country lined up outside gun stores to exercise their constitutional right to purchase and own firearms, state and local officials – including those in a number of Texas cities and counties – refused to designate firearms retailers as “essential businesses” and shut them down. Fortunately, Texas’ current statewide leaders acted quickly, such as here and here, so that Texans’ Second Amendment rights were protected. Now, with the Texas Legislature in session, state lawmakers must ensure that this will always be the case during a declared disaster or emergency, regardless of any statewide or local officeholder’s politics.
Members, please contact your state representative and urge them to CO-AUTHOR HB 1500.