Texas is slated to ease its gun laws—already some of the most lax in the country—next month, making it easier for Texans to carry firearms in schools, churches, and foster homes across the state.
The new laws were passed before the shooting in El Paso last weekend, though they’re receiving renewed attention in the wake of the horrific killings, which took the lives of 22 people, many of them Latinx.
Here’s how Texas gun laws will change, according to CNN:
- makes it easier for schools to have more armed marshals on campus
- allows some foster homes to have guns on the premises for personal protection (according to the law, they must be stored in a safe, secure location)
- homeowners and landlords can’t prevent residents from carrying, possessing, or transporting weapons and ammunition from their property
- bans people from being charged with a crime for carrying a handgun during a state or local evacuation (even if they’re not licensed to do so)
- clarifies Texans’ rights to carry a licensed weapon into places of worship
Texas has had four of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history, which I’m sure is just coincidence. It’s certainly hard to keep track of all the mass shootings—and the corresponding body counts—that have taken place in the last several years, so let’s run this one back: one of Texas’ most deadly shootings took place in a church, in 2017, killing 26 people.
“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, one of the co-sponsors of the recently passed gun bill, said in a statement shared with CNN. “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.”
“This bill provides clarity of the Legislature’s intent to treat churches in the same manner as other privately owned establishments in Texas,” she added.
Of course, there are many, many places that are actual gun-free zones—they’re just not in America, where it is nearly impossible to have such zones because it is so easy to purchase one. It is particularly easy in Texas (the weapon the Dayton, Ohio shooter used in a mass shooting last weekend was originally purchased in the Lone Star state).
From the Texas Tribune:
Under Texas law, most types of weapons can be purchased and possessed with few exceptions. Under federal law, and reiterated in Texas criminal code, rifles with a barrel length of less than 16 inches and shotguns with a barrel length of less than 18 inches are generally prohibited. Exceptions are made to such weapons, as well as machine guns and silencers, if the purchaser registers the weapon with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and pays a $200 tax.
...Texas, like Arizona, Oklahoma, and other states, doesn’t require background checks for private sales, like purchases among individuals or some guns sold at gun shows. It also doesn’t limit purchases of multiple firearms or large capacity ammunition magazines.
...Texas does not require a license to openly carry a rifle in public.