The twin mass shootings that rocked the United States last weekend restarted conversations about the nation’s gun laws, but Texas is already adjusting their laws, though not in the direction gun control advocates might hope. Next month, a new set of firearm laws will go into effect in Texas that will loosen restrictions around bringing firearms into houses of worship and onto school grounds. While these laws were passed before the shootings in El Paso, there was some speculation that the state might revisit the laws in wake of the shooting that left 22 dead.
Among the new laws is one that says that schools cannot ban licensed gun owners, including school employees, from storing a firearm in a locked vehicle in a school parking lot. Other new bills prohibit landlords or homeowners from banning lawfully owned guns on their properties.
Texas has previously allowed gun owners to bring their firearms into churches and other places of worship, but the new bill brings “clarity” to the law, according to State Senator Donna Campbell, co-sponsor of the bill. “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 bill comes two years after a gunman killed 26 people at Sutherland Springs church.
Texas has among the nation’s loosest gun laws. Of the ten deadliest mass shootings in modern U.S. history, four took place in the Lone Star State. “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,” said Kris Brown, president of gun violence prevention advocacy group Brady.