8 new Texas laws that loosen gun restrictions, starting Sept. 1

Firearm access expands at churches, schools, rental properties and in disasters

SAN ANTONIO – The Texas Legislature passed a slew of laws this year that will ease restrictions on guns, including allowing firearms in public places like schools and churches, on rented and leased property and during disasters.

The laws take effect hours after at least 7 people were killed in a mass shooting in Midland/Odessa in West Texas and weeks after nearly two dozen were killed in a mass shooting in El Paso.

The NRA hailed the gun laws passed as "highly successful," while Texas Gun Sense, a nonprofit that advocates for reducing gun violence, said the laws "will make schools and communities less safe."

READ MORE: 12 new Texas laws going into effect Sept. 1

While many of the state legislatures across the U.S. have reformed gun laws to tighten restrictions in response to an epidemic of gun violence, Texas legislators have gone in the other direction

Texas lawmakers, who met at the Capitol this year from January to May, expanded gun access and added money for mental health and school safety in response to the Sutherland Springs shooting and the Sante Fe high school shooting.

Many elected officials, including a handful of state lawmakers from San Antonio and the City Council, have asked Governor Greg Abbott to call a special session in response to the deadly shooting in El Paso. But Abbott has so far said he has no plans of doing so — instead, he launched a Texas Safety Commission to hash out policy proposals for the future.

(The Texas Legislature meets every other year and won't meet again to create or repeal state laws until 2021, unless Abbott calls a special session.)

Read up on the new laws passed this year related to firearms that take effect on Sept. 1 below. You can read more about other laws taking effect on Sept. 1 here.

Guns in church

Senate Bill 535 allows Texans to carry guns in churches, synagogues and other places of worship unless the church wants to prohibit firearms with signage.


Gun owners who rent

House Bill 302 prevents landlords from restricting tenants and their guests from carrying firearms in lease agreements.

Senate Bill 741 prevents property owners’ associations from banning storage of guns on rental properties.


Guns at school

House Bill 1387 eases restrictions on the number of school marshals who carry guns at public and private schools. Current law only allows one armed marshal per 200 students or per building.

House Bill 1143 bars school districts from restricting the manner in which handgun license holders store guns and ammunition in their vehicles in parking areas, other than requiring it to be out of sight.

RELATED: Texas relaxed gun laws after recent mass shootings

Foster homes

House Bill 2363 allows certain foster homes to store guns and ammunition, as long as they are locked up.

Carrying during disasters

House Bill 1177 allows Texans to carry handguns without a license while evacuating or returning from a declared disaster area.


A defense for licensed gun owners

House Bill 121 provides a defense for licensed handgun owners who unknowingly enter an establishment that prohibits firearms as long as they leave when asked.

About the Author

Kolten Parker is Manager of Content and Coverage at KSAT. He moved into the role in 2024, after five years of leading the digital team. Kolten is an award-winning journalist and a proud Texas State Bobcat. He's a triathlete who loves the outdoors and sports. When not working, he likes to hang out with his wife and travel.

Recommended Videos