Following unexpected opposition from gun rights organizations, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission this week dropped a proposed rule change that would have allowed alcohol sales at the same venues where guns are sold, indicating it would leave such decision-making to the Legislature instead.
The move follows a recommendation earlier in the week from commission staff members that the proposal should be dropped. Venues licensed by the commission are not allowed to sell alcohol and guns at the same time. After the rule changes were proposed in August, gun rights organizations expressed concerns that the rule could apply beyond the scope of its intentions and inadvertently shut down gun shows across the state.
Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, a gun rights supporter, said the proposed change was aimed at clarifying the rules for banquets and evening events where guns are often auctioned or raffled. Patterson said the current rules are unclear on whether alcohol sales are allowed at these events.
He added the perception that the proposed rules change was made to allow alcohol sales at gun shows is inaccurate.
"That’s a lot sexier, but it wasn’t about that at all," Patterson said. "No one in the gun show community wanted these rules changed."
The National Rifle Association alerted its members to the proposed changes in August, and urged them to write to the commission to express opposition.
The proposed change would have allowed the sale of alcohol at gun shows at locations leased or owned by government or nonprofit organizations as long as there was no live ammunition in the building, all guns were “disabled and not readily convertible for use,” and the buyers could not pick up the guns on site. The commission was considering the proposal after a gun club asked it to reconsider its ban on alcohol sales alongside gun sales.
Gun control groups opposed the amendment as well.
"This decision is a victory for safety and responsible gun ownership, and we hope that this is a signal that we’ll see more reasonable policies from decision makers in Texas in the future," Moms Demand Action volunteer Claire Elizabeth said in a statement.