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