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Gun Regulation Dealt Setback in Houston Environmental Case

by: Edward Garris

Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 01:54 PM CST

More guns for you.  Prospective rules aside (see this morning's Steve Toth blurb), advocates for local regulation of guns were dealt a setback last week when the Texas Supreme Court released its decision in Southern Crushed Concrete, LLC v. City of Houston, a case concerning local environmental regulation.  

In last week's decision, the Texas Supreme Court held that, although Houston is a home-rule city under Article XI, Section 5 of the Texas Constitution, a Houston ordinance that conflicted with the Texas Clean Air Act (TCAA) was preempted by the TCAA and rules and orders of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).  Houston argued that its ordinance did not seek to regulate air quality, but merely land use.  The Supreme Court rejected that interpretation, effectively nullifying any attempts by cities to pass rules of general applicability that may incidentally affect areas on which the state has already legislated (e.g: guns, environment).  

The ability of Texas cities- even those with vastly different needs and constituencies  than their rural counterparts - to protect their citizens, even with incidental effects on firearms laws, just got a lot harder.


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