WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - Texas legislators passed several laws in 2019 that deal with protecting people’s right to carry in certain places and store guns in their homes.
State Representative James Frank (R-69) explained that lawmakers saw a pattern of local entities across Texas like school districts, local government offices, home owners associations and churches making restrictions on who was allowed to have guns on their properties.
Rep. Frank spoke about why he feels the new laws are necessary, saying “If you look at all 4 of the bills, they all have very similar components in that they’re local government entities trying to add restrictions that at the state level and at the federal level haven’t added.”
He also stated, “Local entities and local government is awesome. That’s what we want is government that’s as close to people as they can be, but they’re supposed to be handling very specific things just like there’s some things that the state should be handling and there’s some things that the federal government should, but we can’t all be handling each other’s stuff.”
He and other law makers voted for a slew of gun bills that include prohibiting property owners’ associations from stopping people from having or using a gun (SB 741).
Another ensures people with a license can carry their firearms on government-owned property (HB 1791).
They also signed a law that says people with licenses can carry in places of worship, unless there's a sign put up (SB 535).
One law protects licensed handgun owners' right to have a firearm in their car on school parking lots (HB 1143).
It is no surprise to lawmakers that there has been a lot of debate about putting restrictions on gun ownership given the mass shootings that have happened in recent years.
State Senator Pat Fallon (R-30) said the goal is to make everyone safe, including gun owners, “Firearms in the hands of law-abiding citizens that are trained to use them make us all safer. Mass shootings are a human tragedy. We have to not only have thoughts and prayers, we also do need to take action. It’s about being safe, not about taking anybody’s guns away or knee-jerking like that. We’re not going to do that in Texas.”
He also feels that the laws going into effect this year will not bring about a difficult transition for Texans.
“There was a question that was asked when we passed open carry. Some opponents on the other side were saying ‘Oh it's going to be like the Wild West’. Nothing really changed. It was really a blip on the screen.”
The new gun laws take effect September 1.