One Day After Mass Shooting, New Laws in Texas That Expand Gun Access Go Into Effect

After earlier mass shootings, the state had loosened gun restrictions.

Law enforcement cordons off an area in Odessa, TexasMark Rogers/AP

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Texas’ new gun laws, which expands where Texans can bring their guns, goes into affect on Sunday, just one day after a gunman killed 7 people and wounded 20 others in Midland and Odessa. 

The nearly dozen new laws, championed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, vastly expands where individuals can bring their guns—including school parking lots, foster homes, churches, and rental properties. One of the laws, inspired by the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, allows Texans to open and conceal carry during natural disasters. Another prevents homeowners associations from regulating gun ownership. And it’s not just guns. Texans will now be legally able to carry pointed keychains, clubs, and brass knuckles. 

The expansion of gun laws was in response to the shootings at a church in Sutherland Springs in 2017 which left 26 dead and 20 injured and a shooting at Santa Fe High School in 2018 where 10 people died and another 13 were wounded. But instead of making it harder to obtain guns, the Texas legislature pushed the “good guy with a gun” narrative, which claims that only someone else with a gun can stop a gunman. Before the laws went into effect, a white supremacist gunned down 22 people at an El Paso Wal-Mart in August.

At the National Rifle Association convention in 2018 held in Dallas, Abbott proposed a solution for gun violence plaguing his state. “The answer to gun violence is not to take guns away, the answer is to strengthen the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens,” he said during a speech. “The problem is not guns, it’s hearts without God.”

Texas already had some of the least restrictive gun laws in the country, and now, after two mass shootings in one month, gun laws will be even more relaxed. Former Democratic state Rep. Wendy Davis, who ran for governor in 2014 and is currently running for Congress, said she was “heartbroken and so angry” over the new laws. “Unbelievably, Texasgun laws are set to become MORE lax tomorrow,” she also said, “thanks to lawmakers who are more interested in courting the NRA than they are protecting the lives of people they were elected to serve.”

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