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Texas implements new weapon laws

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The gun debate is always a highly debated topic especially with recent mass shootings. As of Sept. 1, several new gun laws have gone into effect in Texas. The new laws were passed in May and June of this year.

It is estimated that gun ownership in Texas ranges from 35-43%, which is above the national average. As of May 2017, more than 1.2 million Texans held active concealed carry permits.

New laws effective

Sept. 1, 2019

Senate Bill 535- allows Texans to carry guns in churches, synagogues, and other places of worship unless otherwise banned by those places with proper signage.

Senate Bill 741: prohibits property owners’ associations from banning storage of guns on rental properties.

House Bill 121: provides a legal defense for licensed handgun owners who unknowingly enter an establishment that bans firearms as long as they leave when asked.

House Bill 302: prohibits landlords from banning renters and their guests from carrying firearms in lease agreements.

House Bill 1387: loosens restrictions on the number of school marshals who can carry guns at public and private schools in Texas.

House Bill 1177: allows Texans to carry handguns without a license during a state of disaster.

House Bill 1143: prohibits school districts from banning licensed gun owners from storing guns and ammunition in their vehicles in parking lots.

House Bill 2363: allows certain foster homes to store guns and ammunition in a locked location.

Brass knuckles

Brass knuckles were banned in 1918 in Texas, but the new law put into action Sept. 1, allows Texans to be in possession of brass knuckles. Texas Penal Code defines knuckles as “any instrument that consists of finger rings or guards made of a hard substance and that is designed, made, or adapted for the purpose of inflicting serious bodily injury or death by striking a person with a fist enclosed in the knuckles.”

State Representative Joe Moody, a Democrat from El Paso, filed legislation lifting what he called an “antiquated” ban on brass knuckles, which the governor signed in May.

“If someone has a novelty item or a legitimate self-defense tool, we really shouldn’t be prosecuting them for that,” Moody said. “That’s not a good use of our resources.”

The issue of brass knuckles was brought to light when a North Texas woman, Kyli Phillips, was involved in a fender bender and arrested for carrying a cat-shaped self-defense key-chain in her purse.

Phillips, 21 at the time, faced $4,000 in fines and a year in jail. The case was dismissed in late July after the new bill passed.