Newsweek. Gun owners in the state of Texas can now legally bring firearms into churches, synagogues and schools after a loosening of restrictions passed by legislators earlier this year.
Despite national calls for added gun control measures in the wake of the country’s most recent slew of mass shootings, Texas Republicans went the other direction and expanded locations where guns are permitted. Effective as of Sunday, September 1, Texas gun owners can now bring weapons into places of worship and onto school campuses across the Lone Star state. Just hours before the gun laws were set to take effect, five people were killed and 21 others were injured in a mass shooting in West Texas near Midland and Odessa. The murders followed another mass shooting, in El Paso, earlier in August.
The National Rifle Association lauded the new easing of Texas gun laws as “highly successful,” while gun control activist groups such as Texas Gun Sense have blasted the move for making “schools and communities less safe.”
Texas Republicans passed numerous laws during the state’s last legislative session in regards to firearms:
Under Senate Bill 535, Texans can carry guns into churches, synagogues or any other places of worship unless the property owners explicitly prohibit firearms with posted signage. Under House Bill 302, landlords can no longer prevent tenants or guests of tenants from carrying firearms under the lease agreements. And under Senate Bill 741, property owner associations can no longer ban the storage of guns on rental properties.