Summary

Subsection 229.00I(a)(l) of the Local Government Code prohibits a municipality from regulating the transfer, private ownership, keeping, transportation, licensing, or registration of firearms, air guns, knives, ammunition, or firearm or air gun supplies. Subsection 229.001(b)(3) excepts from this prohibition a municipality's regulation on the use of property or businesses and the location of businesses as long as the regulation does not circumvent the intent of subsection (a)(l). A regulation that expressly prohibits gun stores from operating in a specific area relates to the transfer of firearms and is prohibited by subsection 229.00I(a)(l). Similarly, an ordinance singling out firearm and ammunition sales relates to the transfer of firearms and is therefore prohibited.

A court would likely conclude subsection 229.00I(a)(l)'s prohibition encompasses any one or more of the listed items. To the extent a municipality regulates firearm transfers but not also licensing, registration, or transportation of firearms, it acts contrary to subsection 229.00l(a)(l).

A violation of section 229.001 may be enforced by the Attorney General. Any plaintiff with standing under the Texas Constitution or the U.S. Constitution could bring an action seeking declaratory or injunctive relief against enforcement of an unconstitutional ordinance. Individual city council members who voted on a zoning provision that is ultimately found to violate section 229.001 or the Texas or the U.S. Constitution would likely be immune from personal liability.

Opinion File

kp0252.pdf