Less than 12 hours after a gunman opened fire and terrorized two towns in West Texas, the state suddenly loosened a lot of restrictions on gun ownership. The laws, which essentially make it easier and simpler for Texans to own firearms, were already set to take effect September 1, but the timing serves as a stark reminder of the priorities for elected officials in a state that had four of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in modern U.S. history. All the changes were approved by state legislators in the last session that ended in June 2019.
The changes include:
-School districts can no longer prohibit gun owners from storing firearms or ammunition in a locked vehicle on a school parking lot as long as they are not in plain view.
-Loosening Restrictions on carrying weapons in places of worship.
-Restrictions on how many armed school marshals a school district can appoint have been loosened.
-Prohibits residential leases from including clauses that prohibit firearms.
-Makes it easier for foster parents to have firearms in their homes.
-Residents evacuating from a disaster area cannot be charged with a crime for carrying a handgun.
And those are just a few examples of the 10 measures that take effect Sunday. The NRA outlined the new measures on Thursday and celebrated their implementation, claiming that the bills are “protecting your second amendment rights.” In June, the NRA celebrated a “highly successful” year in the Texas Legislature “with several bills that will further loosen Texas’ permissive gun laws.”
Kris Brown, the president of gun violence prevention advocacy group Brady, said that the new laws showed just how little lawmakers in the state seem to care about mass shootings. “Many states took the opportunity in the last two years to learn lessons from the tragedies in Las Vegas, Sutherland Springs, Parkland, and the every day gun violence that plagues our citizens, and enacted new laws to protect public safety through expanded background checks and extreme risk laws,” Brown said. “Texas lawmakers, instead … doubled down on an NRA led agenda to encourage guns everywhere, no matter the risks and costs to safety.”
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