New Changes To Texas Gun Laws Will Allow Weapons In Churches And On School Grounds

Following the devastating back-to-back massacres that took place in America last weekend, many states are making efforts to tighten their gun control laws to prevent such tragedies from occurring again. However, one state is doing the opposite.

Looser gun laws will be taking effect in Texas next month, making it easy for citizens to bring firearms inside places of worship, as well as on school grounds, CNN reported.

Just one week ago, the country was shaken after two gunmen in two different states opened fire on the public.

In Dayton, Ohio, a man shot and killed nine people on a busy street in the early hours of the morning on Sunday before police were able to neutralize him.

Hours before that, in El Paso, Texas, a gunman entered a crowded Walmart location and fired at the shoppers, killing 22 people and injuring 26 others.

The deadly shootings have called into question the country's gun laws and reignited people's demands for tighter gun control.

The state of Texas is already known for having some of the least restrictive laws in the country. But those laws are about to become even looser after changes go into effect next month, making for even less restrictions on firearms.

The new laws were passed prior to the El Paso massacre and make it even easier for Texans to carry guns into public arenas.

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Despite the fact that Texas has been host to four of the country's 10 deadliest shootings in modern history, the laws are set to continue to go into effect September 1 as previously planned. Even the most recent tragedy of the El Paso shooting doesn't appear to be enough to inspire any change in the lawmakers' decision.

The new laws make startling amendments to the already lax existing legislation.

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According to House Bill 1143, a school district cannot legally prohibit licensed gun owners, including employees, from keeping firearms and ammunition inside a locked car on school grounds. That is, as long as the weapon isn't in plain view.

Districts within the state have also had restrictions loosened on how many armed "school marshals" they are allowed to appoint.

In May 2018, a gunman shot and killed nine students at a Santa Fe school, just outside of Houston.

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According to Kris Brown, president of gun violence prevention advocacy group Brady, that tragedy, and others like it, have inspired change throughout the country. But that call for change has fallen on deaf ears in Texas.

"Texas lawmakers, instead of reacting to the horrific shooting in Santa Fe by focusing on keeping guns out of dangerous hands, or even emphasizing safe storage of guns, instead doubled down on an NRA led agenda to encourage guns everywhere, no matter the risks and costs to safety," Brown said.

Another amendment to the gun laws in Texas will allow for firearms to be carried within places of worship.

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Senate Bill 535 allows licensed handgun owners to carry those weapons into churches, synagogues, and other places of worship.

As Sen. Donna Campbell, a co-signer of the bill, explained, "It makes no sense to disarm the good guys and leave law-abiding citizens defenseless where violent offenders break the law to do great harm."

In November 2017, a gunman entered the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, and killed 26 people.

Another 20 people were injured in the attack which saw the man use a semiautomatic rifle on the worshipers inside the crowded church.

Other amendments to the bill cover various places in which licensed gun owners are allowed or prohibited to carry their weapon.

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Guns are allowed inside foster homes, so long as the firearms and ammunition are stored in a safe and secure place. Additionally, the new laws prohibit licensed gun owners from being charged with a crime if they're found to be carrying a handgun while evacuating from a state or local disaster area.

However, residents in rental properties are prohibited from lawfully possessing, carrying, transporting or storing a firearm or ammunition on the premises.

h/t: CNN

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