How Texas forces companies to stay neutral on gun control – or lose business

How Texas forces companies to stay neutral on gun control - or lose business

Gun rights advocates gathered outside the state Capitol in Austin in 2019 in the wake of the mass shooting at an El Paso Walmart. To keep doing business with Texas, companies will effectively have to take a vow of neutrality if the latest school-shooting massacre sets off another nationwide furor over gun control. That’s because in June 2021, flanked by Republican lawmakers and officials from the National Rifle Association, Gov. Greg Abbott signed a state law that gives firearm makers, retailers and industry groups special protection, one that relies on language usually reserved to shield people from racism, sexism, ageism or other forms of prejudice. As a result, companies signing contracts with government agencies there — from school districts and cities to Texas itself — must verify they don’t “discriminate” against the industry, seeking to force them to ignore any calls to cut their business ties. The unusual provision, which has since inspired legislation in other Republican-led states, shows how much power the gun lobby has wielded in the nation’s statehouses to fend off any efforts to curtail access to firearms in the wake of mass shootings. The latest occurred Tuesday at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, where a gunman killed 19 students and two teachers in the deadliest school shooting since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut a decade ago. The Texas shooting, which followed a racist attack at grocery store in Buffalo, New York, has reignited the debate over gun control, with President […]

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