Many news outlets across the country noted that on the day after the deadly shootings in Midland and Odessa, eight new laws loosening gun restrictions went into effect in Texas. The changes had been in the works for some time.
Gwendolyn Wu has been covering these gun law changes for The Houston Chronicle. She says the new laws, passed during this year’s legislative session, became effective as scheduled, on Sept. 1, the day after the shootings. Wu says the laws add to the number and kinds of places Texans can carry a firearm.
“They’re pretty far-reaching,” Wu says. “They go from schools to foster homes, rental homes. Some of them also talk about places of worship.”
Sb 535 set rules for circumstances in which licensed gun owners can carry their weapons into places of worship. Individual churches, synagogues or temples can set rules governing gun possession on their premises, if they wish. That’s the standard currently applied to private businesses.
Another new law prevents prosecutors from charging individuals who carry a gun without a license in a disaster zone, following a natural disaster.
“This kind of came about after some folks complained about not being able to protect their homes in case of looting,” Wu says.
Gov. Greg Abbott, who supported the new gun laws, said after the West Texas shootings that one of the new laws, which removes a cap on the number of armed marshals in schools, would keep schools safer. The law was proposed after the 2018 Santa Fe school shooting.
“He didn’t really go into too many details about what other issues legislators may be looking at when it comes to coming up with more solutions that people have been asking for in response to gun violence,” Wu says.
Written by Shelly Brisbin.