This past weekend the state of Texas experienced its second mass shooting in less than a month. The next day a series of new firearm laws went into effect, loosening gun restrictions in a state that has had four of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in US history.
On Saturday Texas state troopers attempted to pull over a male in his late 30s driving a gold car. Instead of stopping for law enforcement, the driver of the car started firing shots out of the rear window, striking one of the troopers. A chase ensued where the driver continued shooting, hitting 21 civilians, including a 17-month-old baby.
Seven people are dead as a result of this latest mass shooting. One person remains in life-threatening condition. The 17-month-old was airlifted to a nearby hospital but remains stable.
On Sunday, just hours after the shooting, a slate of new Texas laws went into effect that loosens regulations for firearms. The bills were passed at the end of June during the 86th Texas legislature.
The new laws include:
House Bill 1143 eases restrictions to firearms on school grounds. It states that a school district cannot prohibit licensed gun owners, such as school employees, from storing a firearm or ammunition in a locked vehicle on school property.
House Bill 1387 loosens restrictions on how many armed school marshals a school district can appoint.
House Bill 2363 allows foster homes to store firearms and ammunition in a secure place.
House Bill 302 bans landlords of rental properties from prohibiting their residents from lawfully possessing, carrying, transporting or storing a firearm or ammunition in the property.
House Bill 1177 prevents citizens from being charged with a crime for carrying a handgun without a License To Carry while evacuating from a declared state or local disaster area, or while returning to that area. Also gives disaster shelters the option to accommodate evacuees with firearms.
Senate Bill 535 clarifies the Texas Penal Code in reference to the possession of firearms at places of worship and allowed licensed handgun ornwers to legally carry their weapons in places of worship.
These new laws come after this weekend’s mass shooting and the shooting last month at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas that left 22 people dead.
Several politicians responded in outrage over the weekend, once again calling for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to review and support House-approved legislation that would expand background checks.