Eight gun laws in Texas relaxing restrictions on firearms went into effect on Sunday, the day after several shootings in the state on Saturday left at least 7 people dead and 21 injured.
The state’s Republican-controlled legislature passed a series of gun laws during its session earlier this year, which were signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott (R).
Under the new laws, Texans are now allowed to bring guns into churches, carry guns without a license when evacuating for a natural disaster, and are provided a legal defense if they bring firearms to a place that bans them if they did so unknowingly and leave when asked.
The laws also loosened restrictions on gun storage. School districts are no longer allowed to limit how licensed gun owners store their guns on school parking lots, and landlords cannot include restrictions on gun storage in rent leases.
A gunman fired at random in the cities of Midland and Odessa, Texas on Saturday. The alleged shooter, whom law enforcement described as a white male in his 30s, was killed by the police during the rampage. His motives are currently unknown.
After the deadly shooting in El Paso in early August, Abbott and other Texas Republicans refused to engage with the topic of gun control and blamed the massacre on mental health and video games instead.