Immunity Statutes in Texas

Posted on January 1, 2012

(This section was last updated April 1, 2011.)

See our Immunity Statutes / Manufacturer Litigation policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Texas law provides that a governmental unit (including a municipality or county) may not bring suit against a firearms or ammunition manufacturer, trade association, or seller for recovery of damages resulting from, or injunctive relief or abatement of a nuisance relating to, the lawful design, manufacture, marketing, or sale of firearms or ammunition to the public, or against a sport shooting range, the owners or operators of a sport shooting range, or the owners of real property on which a sport shooting range is operated, for the lawful discharge of firearms on the sport shooting range.1 The rules regarding sport shooting ranges were added in 2011.

The Texas Attorney General, however, may bring such a suit on behalf of the state or any other governmental unit.2 In addition, a governmental unit acting on behalf of the state or any other governmental unit may bring such a suit if approved in advance by the legislature.3

In addition, a governmental unit may bring an action against a sport shooting range, the owners or operators of a sport shooting range, or the owners of real property on which a sport shooting range is operating for injunctive relief to enforce a valid ordinance, statute, or regulation, or to require the sport shooting range to comply with generally accepted standards followed in the sport shooting range industry in this state at the time of the sport shooting range’s construction, if the sport shooting range began operation after September 1, 2011.4

A governmental unit may bring an action against a firearms manufacturer, trade association, or seller for recovery of damages for:

  • Breach of contract or warranty as to firearms or ammunition purchased by a governmental unit;
  • Damage or harm to property owned or leased by the governmental unit caused by a defective firearm or ammunition;
  • Personal injury or death, if such action arises from a governmental unit’s claim for subrogation;
  • Injunctive relief to enforce a valid ordinance, statute, or regulation; or
  • Contribution under the law relating to proportionate responsibility.5

In a products liability action brought against a manufacturer or seller of a firearm or ammunition that alleges a design defect in the firearm or ammunition, the burden is on the claimant to prove, in addition to any other elements that the claimant must prove, that:

  • The actual design of the firearm or ammunition was defective, causing the firearm or ammunition not to function in a manner reasonably expected by an ordinary consumer of firearms or ammunition; and
  • The defective design was a producing cause of the personal injury, property damage, or death.6

Further, the “claimant may not prove the existence of the defective design by a comparison or weighing of the benefits of the firearm or ammunition against the risk of personal injury, property damage, or death posed by its potential to cause such injury, damage, or death when discharged.”7

Texas law also prohibits a civil action from being brought against a sport shooting range, or the owner of the range for recovery of damages resulting from, or injunctive relief or abatement of a nuisance relating to, the discharge of firearms.8 Certain exceptions exist. Damages may be awarded, or an injunction may be obtained, in a civil action brought against a sport shooting range if the claimant shows by a preponderance of the evidence, through the testimony of one or more expert witnesses, that the sport shooting range, its owner or operator, or the owner of real property on which it is operated deviated from the standard of care that is reasonably expected of an ordinarily prudent sport shooting range in the same or similar circumstances.9

Texas law prohibits any person from bringing a nuisance or similar cause of action against a shooting range based on noise if the shooting range is in compliance with all applicable municipal and county ordinances, orders, and rules regulating noise, or if no applicable noise ordinance, order, or rule exists.10 In addition:

A governmental official may not seek a civil or criminal penalty against a sport shooting range or its owner or operator based on the violation of a municipal or county ordinance, order, or rule regulating noise:

(1) if the sport shooting range is in compliance with the applicable ordinance, order, or rule; or
(2) if no applicable noise ordinance, order, or rule exists.11

For detailed information about government and private party lawsuits against the gun industry, the status of litigation involving gun industry immunity statutes in various states, or pending gun industry immunity legislation, visit the Brady Center’s Legal Action Project and the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence’s Gun Industry Immunity page.

  1. Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 128.001(b). []
  2. Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 128.001(e). []
  3. Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 128.001(c). []
  4. Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 128.001(f). []
  5. Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 128.001(d). []
  6. Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 82.006(a). []
  7. Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 82.006(b). []
  8. Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 128.052(a). A civil action may be brought, however, against a sport shooting range for recovery of damages for:

    • Breach of contract for use of the real property on which a sport shooting range is located;
    • Damage or harm to private property caused by the discharge of firearms on a sport shooting range;
    • Personal injury or death caused by the discharge of a firearm on a sport shooting range; or
    • Injunctive relief to enforce a valid ordinance, statute, or regulation.

    Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 128.052(b).
    []

  9. Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 128.052(c). The law provides for the use of expert testimony to establish the standard of care. Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 128.053. []
  10. Tex. Local Gov’t Code § 250.001(c). []
  11. Tex. Local Gov’t Code § 250.001(b). []