New Texas Gun Laws Expanding Rights to Carry Went Into Effect One Day After Odessa Shooting

New Texas Gun Laws Expanding Rights to Carry Went Into Effect One Day After Odessa Shooting

The laws allow Texans to carry guns into houses of worship unless explicitly banned and clear gunowners to carry firearms on their person for a full week after a natural disaster is declared.

Just one day after a highway shooting claimed eight lives in Odessa, Texas, new gun laws went into effect that expand the ability of Texans to carry weapons in houses of worship and in the immediate aftermath of natural disasters.

Lawmakers passed about 820 bills earlier this year during the Texas legislative session, and they went into effect on Sept. 1. Thanks to House Bill 1177, residents who are already cleared to legally own a handgun will be able to carry it with them for a full week after a natural disaster is declared by the state.

Outside of that time span, only those with a specific license requiring firearms training and a background training can legally carry a gun at all times, The Dallas Morning News reported.

In addition, Texans will be allowed to carry guns into houses of worship unless faith leadership expressly forbid the practice, as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints did last month. The law came about as part of the state’s response to the 2017 mass shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs that killed 26 parishioners.

State Senator Donna Campbell, a Republican who filed the bill, said in a recent statement that the law does not restrict the rights of churches to prohibit weapons on their premises. Instead, Senate Bill 535 aims to reduce penalties for licensed citizens who unknowingly carry in prohibited areas, she said.

“It also increases the penalty for armed individuals who are told to leave certain premises where weapons are prohibited and fail to depart,” Campbell said, according to WFAA 8 News.

The Texas legislature also passed a law that lifts a limit on the number of trained employees, which the state calls “school marshals,” who can carry guns at K-12 schools. That program was created in 2013 following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that killed 26 people in Newtown, Connecticut, The Dallas Morning News reported.

Following the tragic shootings in El Paso a month ago and now the killing of at least eight people in Odessa last weekend, the state government looks poised again to implement new policies meant to curb gun violence.

Last month, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott established the Texas Safety Commission to come up with recommendations to address mass shootings in the state, and tweeted Monday night that “we’re working on a legislative package right now.” However, the Texas legislature only meets every two years, and already finished out its session earlier this year. Abbott has not yet indicated that he will call a special session, as he did in 2017.

The mayor of Odessa, David Turner, said on Tuesday that “one thing is not going to fix” the problems behind mass shootings and widespread gun violence.

“We need stronger mental health laws,” Turner told The Texas Standard. “I think there were red flags for this gentleman, or this person. As municipalities and as a state, we're very limited on what we can do when somebody shows that they are maybe spiraling down or they may have some mental issues. You can hold them for maybe 24 hours, 48 hours, but then you have to release them. That is something that is going to have to be addressed.”

About the Author

Haley Samsel is an Associate Content Editor for the Infrastructure Solutions Group at 1105 Media.


  • 12 Commercial Crime Sites to Do Your Research

    12 Commercial Crime Sites to Do Your Research

    Understanding crime statistics in your industry and area is crucial for making important decisions about your security budget. With so much information out there, how can you know which statistics to trust? Read Now

  • Cybersecurity Awareness Month: Top Five Action Items to Elevate Your Data Security Posture Management and Secure Your Data

    October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and every year most tips for security hygiene and staying safe have not changed. We’ve seen them all – use strong passwords, deploy multi-factor authentication (MFA), be vigilant to spot phishing attacks, regularly update software and patch your systems. These are great recommended ongoing tips and are as relevant today as they’ve ever been. But times have changed and these best practices can no longer be the bare minimum. Read Now

  • Boosting Safety and Efficiency

    Boosting Safety and Efficiency

    In alignment with the state of Mississippi’s mission of “Empowering Mississippi citizens to stay connected and engaged with their government,” Salient's CompleteView VMS is being installed throughout more than 150 state boards, commissions and agencies in order to ensure safety for thousands of constituents who access state services daily. Read Now

  • Live From GSX: Post-Show Review

    Live From GSX: Post-Show Review

    This year’s Live From GSX program was a rousing success! Again, we’d like to thank our partners, and IPVideo, for working with us and letting us broadcast their solutions to the industry. You can follow our Live From GSX 2023 page to keep up with post-show developments and announcements. And if you’re interested in working with us in 2024, please don’t hesitate to ask about our Live From programs for ISC West in March or next year’s GSX. Read Now

    • Industry Events
    • GSX

Featured Cybersecurity


New Products

  • AC Nio

    AC Nio

    Aiphone, a leading international manufacturer of intercom, access control, and emergency communication products, has introduced the AC Nio, its access control management software, an important addition to its new line of access control solutions. 3

  • Luma x20

    Luma x20

    Snap One has announced its popular Luma x20 family of surveillance products now offers even greater security and privacy for home and business owners across the globe by giving them full control over integrators’ system access to view live and recorded video. According to Snap One Product Manager Derek Webb, the new “customer handoff” feature provides enhanced user control after initial installation, allowing the owners to have total privacy while also making it easy to reinstate integrator access when maintenance or assistance is required. This new feature is now available to all Luma x20 users globally. “The Luma x20 family of surveillance solutions provides excellent image and audio capture, and with the new customer handoff feature, it now offers absolute privacy for camera feeds and recordings,” Webb said. “With notifications and integrator access controlled through the powerful OvrC remote system management platform, it’s easy for integrators to give their clients full control of their footage and then to get temporary access from the client for any troubleshooting needs.” 3

  • XS4 Original+

    XS4 Original+

    The SALTO XS4 Original+ design is based on the same proven housing and mechanical mechanisms of the XS4 Original. The XS4 Original+, however, is embedded with SALTO’s BLUEnet real-time functionality and SVN-Flex capability that enables SALTO stand-alone smart XS4 Original+ locks to update user credentials directly at the door. Compatible with the array of SALTO platform solutions including SALTO Space data-on-card, SALTO KS Keys as a Service cloud-based access solution, and SALTO’s JustIn Mobile technology for digital keys. The XS4 Original+ also includes RFID Mifare DESFire, Bluetooth LE and NFC technology functionality. 3