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Texas is the latest ‘Second Amendment sanctuary’ with new constitutional gun carry laws

Texans no longer need firearms training or a permit to open carry a hand gun in the Lone Star State, joining about 20 other states with similar laws

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Gun shop owner Jesus “Chuy” Aguirre attends Chuy’s Gun Shop in El Paso, Texas.

Gun shop owner Jesus “Chuy” Aguirre, left, attends to customer Angel Zacarias on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021, in Chuy’s Gun Shop in El Paso, Texas, as anticipation builds regarding a new Texas law that relaxes restrictions on handguns.

Morgan Lee, Associated Press

Texans can now openly carry a handgun in public without a permit or firearms training. The permitless carry law, along with a slew of other new firearms legislation, went into effect this week as the Lone Star State joined around 20 other states as a “Second Amendment sanctuary,” Houston Public Media reported.

“Politicians from the federal level to the local level have threatened to take guns from law-abiding citizens — but we will not let that happen in Texas,” Gov. Greg Abbott alleged this summer after signing several of the new gun laws. “Texas will always be the leader in defending the Second Amendment, which is why we built a barrier around gun rights this session.

The Texas legislature passed 666 bills which went into effect on Sept. 1, according to The Texas Tribune. This session, lawmakers passed more than 20 new laws related to firearms, with most loosening or limiting restriction on guns, reported Houston Public Media.

  • Texas politicians also passed laws that prevent the enforcement of new federal gun laws by state and local governments and stops Texas government agencies from doing business with companies that “discriminate against the firearm or ammunition industries,” according to Houston Public Media.
  • Other new Texas guns laws allow hotel patrons to carry firearms, “create a statewide active shooter alert system” and stop local governments from banning gun and ammunitions sales during an emergency.

Some Texas officials are worried about the news gun laws

On the heels of a pair of mass shootings, some Texas lawmakers expected the legislative body to pass more restrictive gun laws in 2021, The Texas Tribune reported, but the opposite happened.

  • Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick even went as far as saying “he was ‘willing to take an arrow’ from the National Rifle Association in order to pursue stronger background check laws.”
  • According to The Texas Tribune, a shift in Texas House leadership and the passage of similar gun laws in other states led to the swing from more to less restrictive policies.

Earlier this year, Texas police officials — including Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia — encouraged lawmakers to forgo relaxing the state’s firearms laws, but ultimately it didn’t matter, Dallas-Fort Worth’s NBC 5 reported.

  • Houston Police Department Assistant Chief Larry Satterwhite said he was concerned about Texans not being required to take firearms safety class and about stolen firearms ending up in the hands of criminals.
  • “Last year, almost 3,000 guns were stolen from cars in Houston,” Satterwhite said. “So far this year, that number has already passed 2,000,” Houston Public Media reported of the assistant chief’s comments at a roundtable on Wednesday.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler trolled Gov. Abbott on Twitter Wednesday when the new gun laws and Texas’ new abortion ban went into effect at the same time. The mayor retweeted a post from Abbott about the abortion ban, implying the governor was being disingenuous in his concern for Texan’s lives.

  • “‘Texas will always defend the right to life’ — unless your life is being threatened by gun violence, COVID-19, or the inability to exercise your constitutional right to an abortion,” Adler wrote.