- Several new laws will take effect in Texas that would ease several restrictions for gun owners to carry firearms and store ammunition in public places.
- The nine laws kick into effect just one day after seven people were killed and 21 were by a suspect who opened fire on authorities during a traffic stop.
- The tragedy came just under a month after a gunman killed 22 people in El Paso, Texas.
- President Donald Trump suggested after the attack that violent video games were to blame for encouraging mass shooters, but scientific research has repeatedly found that’s not the case.
- Multiple studies have repeatedly shown that mental-health issues are not predictive of violence, and the number of gun deaths in the US is much higher than in other nations with similar rates of gun ownership, meaning certain policies that can help prevent deaths.
- Days before the shooting, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott held meetings with state lawmakers about how to prevent more mass shootings in Texas, which could affect the future of these new laws.
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Several new laws will take effect in Texas that would ease restrictions for gun owners just a day after seven people were killed and 21 were shot after a suspect opened fire on authorities during a traffic stop.
The nine new laws automatically took effect on September 1 and include allowances that would give gun owners in the state the right to carry firearms and store ammunition in public places, including churches, public schools, and foster homes.
The new, more relaxed laws come amid a record-breaking year for mass shootings, as the US has seen 285 mass shootings in 2019, according to the non-profit Gun Violence Archive. In those shootings, 9,928 people have died and 19,856 people have been injured.
After a gunman in the Texas border city of El Paso killed 22 people after opening fire at a Walmart, President Donald Trump cited poor mental health and violent video games as a driver for those who commit mass shootings, but scientific research doesn’t support those claims.
Multiple studies have repeatedly shown that mental-health issues are not predictive of violence, and the number of gun deaths in the US is much higher than in other nations with similar rates of gun ownership, Business Insider’s Aylin Woodward reported. Democrats have advocated fo certain policies that have helped prevent deaths elsewhere, including stricter background checks, rules prohibiting domestic abusers from owning weapons, and secure locks on firearms in the home with decreased rates of gun-related deaths.
Just days before the shooting in Odessa, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott held two meetings with state lawmakers about how to prevent more mass shootings in Texas. However, the bundle of new laws weren’t up for immediate discussion, as the new additions were implemented by Republican state legislators in the last legislative session that ended in June 2019.
Listed below are the new laws, as described by the Texas State Law Library.
HB 121 — Relating to a defense to prosecution for the offense of trespass by certain persons carrying handguns. Provides a defense for License To Carry holders who unknowingly enter establishments that prohibit guns with signage if the LTC holder promptly leaves the property after being asked.
HB 302— Relating to the carrying, storage, or possession of a firearm or firearm ammunition by certain persons on certain residential or commercial property. Prohibits residential lease agreements from restricting the possession of firearms by residents or their guests.
HB 1143— Relating to the transportation or storage of a handgun or other firearm or ammunition by a handgun license holder in a school parking area. Updates the Texas Education Code to prevent school districts from regulating the manner in which a licensed person’s handgun, firearm, or ammunition is stored in their vehicle in a school parking area.
HB 1177— Relating to carrying a handgun during a state of disaster. Prevents citizens from being charged with a crime for carrying a handgun without a License To Carry while evacuating from a declared state or local disaster area, or while returning to that area. Also gives disaster shelters the option to accommodate evacuees with firearms.
HB 1387— Relating to the number of school marshals that may be appointed to serve on a public school campus or at a private school. Loosens restrictions on how many armed school marshals a school district or the governing body of an open-enrollment charter school may appoint.
HB 1791— Relating to the carrying of handguns by license holders on property owned or leased by a governmental entity. Updates language in the Texas Government Code related to the carrying of firearms on property owned or leased by a government entity.
HB 2363— Relating to permitting certain foster homes to store firearms and ammunition in the same locked location. Updates specifications for how foster parents may store their firearms in a foster home.
SB 535— Relating to the carrying of a handgun by a license holder on the premises of certain places of religious worship. Clarifies the Texas Penal Code by removing “a church, synagogue, or other established place of religious worship” from the list of prohibited locations for carrying a firearm.
SB 741— Relating to restrictive covenants regarding firearms or firearm ammunition. Prohibits a property owners association from prohibiting or restricting the possession, transportation, or storage of a firearm or ammunition. Also prohibits restrictions on the lawful discharge of a firearm.
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