POLITICS

Texas Loosens Gun Restrictions One Day After Odessa Mass Shooting

Several new laws going into effect on Sunday will make it easier to carry firearms in public places, like schools and churches.

Multiple new laws designed to loosen regulations on gun control go into effect in Texas on Sunday, one day after the state suffered its second mass shooting in less than a month.

The new laws, passed by the state’s legislature in August, will allow firearms in public places like schools and churches, as well as foster homes and rental properties.

One measure, House Bill 1143, bans school districts from blocking licensed gun owners from keeping their firearms in school parking lots, so long as the weapons are inside locked vehicle and not within view.

State troopers and other emergency personnel monitor the scene at a local car dealership following a shooting in Odessa, Texa
State troopers and other emergency personnel monitor the scene at a local car dealership following a shooting in Odessa, Texas, on Saturday.

Senate Bill 535 allows firearms to be taken to places of worship. House Bill 302 prohibits residential lease agreements from restricting firearm possession by residents or their guests. The full list of new regulations can be viewed here.

Opponents of the new laws have warned that they will lead to an increase in violence.

“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,” Kris Brown, president of gun violence prevention advocacy group Brady, said in a statement obtained by CNN. “Texas lawmakers, instead ... doubled down on an NRA led agenda to encourage guns everywhere, no matter the risks and costs to safety.”

Authorities said seven people were killed in Saturday's shooting, which came less than a month after another mass shooting in
Authorities said seven people were killed in Saturday's shooting, which came less than a month after another mass shooting in El Paso, Texas.

Supporters of the new laws have praised them for allowing gun owners to better protect themselves, and others.

“We have learned many times over that there is no such thing as a gun free zone. Those with evil intentions will violate the law and carry out their heinous acts no matter what,” state Sen. Donna Campbell, who co-sponsored some of the legislation, said in a statement. “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.”

The new laws go into effect one day after a gunman went on a shooting spree in the western Texas cities of Midland and Odessa, leaving at least seven people dead and more than 20 others wounded, authorities said.

That shooting came less than a month after another gunman killed 22 people at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas.

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