AUSTIN, Texas — Starting Sept. 1, a whole new set of gun-related laws will go into effect across Texas.
Gov. Greg Abbott ceremonially signed the new legislation relating to the Second Amendment Thursday in a ceremony at the Alamo in San Antonio.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, House Speaker Dade Phelan, Texas Senators Donna Campbell, Brandon Creighton, Charles Schwertner, and Drew Springer; State Reps. Representatives Giovanni Capriglione, Cole Hefner, Tom Oliverson, Matt Shaefer, David Spiller, and other members of the legislature, as well as representatives of the National Rifle Association attended the bill signing event.
Abbott signed Senate Bills 19, 20, and 550, and House Bills 957, 1500, 1927, and 2622.
Here is a breakdown of each of the laws that will go into effect on Sept 1.
The 32-page bill, introduced in February by Rep. Schaefer and Matt, will allow Texans 21 and over who are legally allowed to possess certain firearms to carry them in public without a license or training.
The bill has been a controversial piece of legislation since its beginning, with critics saying it would make it much more difficult to identify licensed and unlicensed gun carriers and potentially make Texas more dangerous.
"The permitless carry bill will cause more violence and loss," said U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-El Paso, in a statement to the Texas Tribune Wednesday. "Despite overwhelming support for common-sense gun violence prevention legislation like universal background checks, Texas Republicans, led by a cowardly governor, are more interested in groveling for the gun lobby’s attention than they are in preventing gun violence and honoring victims and survivors in El Paso and across Texas."
Abbott disagrees with this sentiment, asserting that there is a need for people to defend themselves.
"Just look at the ranchers who live in South Texas who are being invaded on a daily basis by people coming across the border," Abbott said Thursday during the ceremonial bill signing. "They need to have a gun to be able to defend themselves against cartels and gangs and other very dangerous people. There is a need for people to have a weapon to defend themselves in the Lone Star State."
We asked our KRIS 6 social media followers what they think:
SB 19 will prohibit the Texas government to have contracts with companies that "discriminate against the firearm or ammunition industries."
This applies to companies that "refuse to engage in the trade of any goods or services with the entity or association based solely on its status as a firearm entity or firearm trade association; refrain from continuing an existing business relationship with the entity or association based solely on its status as a firearm entity or firearm trade association; terminate an existing business relationship with the entity or association based solely on its status as a firearm entity or firearm trade association..." according to the bill.
The bill also says that this wouldn't apply to companies with less than 10 employees or contracts valued at at least $100,000 unless the company distinctly claims, in writing, that they do not discriminate against members of the lawful firearm or ammunition industries.
"Except as provided by Subsection (c) and Section 2274.003, a governmental entity may not enter into a contract with a company for the purchase of goods or services unless the contract contains a written verification from the company that it: does not have a practice, policy, guidance, or directive that discriminates against a firearm entity or firearm trade association; and will not discriminate during the term of the contract against a firearm entity or firearm trade association," the bill states.
SB 20 is related to the lawful storing of handguns and handgun ammunition in hotels. When enacted, this law will allow hotel guests to possess and store a handgun or handgun ammunition on hotel property, unless a state or federal law prevents an individual from doing so.
Hotels will still be allowed to create policies that prevent gun holders from open carrying in common areas such as lobbies and hallways.
SB 550 is related to expanding the definition of a gun holster in Texas. Previously, Texas law defined a gun holster as a "shoulder or belt" holster, which does not include belly bands, waistbands, ankle holsters, and pocket holsters.
Specifically, the new bill amends current law relating to licensed gun carriers under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code.
HB 957 amends a current law that would deny or reduce compensation under the Crime Victims' Compensation Act. According to a bill analysis from the Senate Research Center, the old law would deny, reduce, or delay victims of violent gun-related crimes and home invasions, relocation and compensation for not cooperating with law enforcement. The former law did not take into account that victims of these crimes may not talk to police due to trauma related to the incident.
The bill states, "The attorney general may not deny or reduce an award under Subsection (a)(1) based on the interactions of the claimant or victim with a law enforcement agency at the crime scene or hospital unless the attorney general finds that the claimant or victim, subsequent to the claimant’s or victim’s interactions at the crime scene or hospital, failed or refused to substantially cooperate with the law enforcement agency."
HB 1500 has to do with the sale, transportation, and use of firearms and ammunition during a proclaimed state of emergency, declaration of disaster, or local disaster.
Specifically, the new bill will prohibit, "the seizure or confiscation of any firearm or ammunition from an individual who is lawfully carrying or possessing the firearm or ammunition; or (2) prohibit or restrict the business or operations of a firearms or ammunition manufacturer, distributor, wholesaler, supplier, or retailer or a sport shooting range, as defined by Section 250.001, Local Government Code, in connection with a state of emergency."
HB 2622 will establish Texas as a "Second Amendment Sanctuary State," according to Abbott.
"This helps to shield Texas and Texans from overreaching federal government laws that we will not allow any Texan to enforce in the Lone Star State," Abbott said.
The law does not allow agencies of the state to participate or enforce any laws or initiatives by the federal government, relating to the prohibition or regulation of firearms or ammunition. The law also will also remove state funds for political subdivisions that require or assist with the enforcement of any federal statute, order, rule, or regulation that basically contradicts the gun laws of Texas.