CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Six hundred and sixty-six new Texas laws will be enacted this Wednesday. One of the new laws lifts some key requirements on handgun owners.
Starting Wednesday, Texans who are 21 and older who are legally able to purchase a handgun will no longer need a license to carry it openly or concealed. No training is needed either.
Texas now becomes the 19th state to enact a permitless carry or constitutional carry law.
"Constitutional carry is simply the state, acknowledging your personal right to carry a firearm, but they're requiring you to do all your own homework, know what the laws are - where you can carry where you can't. And the penalties for doing something wrong or making a mistake are pretty stiff. Much different than if you had a license to carry," explained Garcia.
The new permitless carry law does not require handgun owners to take classes.
Proficiency is the key in safely handling a gun. The new law has some concerned that it would deter owners from taking gun classes.
"And so it really goes back on to the person to understand how the firearm works, how to handle them safely, how to carry it safely and know the laws when you can't use deadly force in Texas law," stated Garcia.
There are some restrictions. These are places you cannot carry a firearm in Texas:
- Sporting Events
- Polling places
- Government offices
- Jails and prisons
- Federal property
- National Park buildings
- Private businesses that post signs
What kind of sign allows handguns inside a building?
Signs with penal codes 30.06 and 30.07 will still prohibit concealed and open carry at the locations they are posted. But starting Wednesday, 30.05 establishes a new option for property owners to allow licensed holders to carry but not unlicensed carriers.
The new law takes effect as a majority of Texas are showing their disapproval of it. 59 percent of those polled by the University of Texas are against the law.
The non-profit advocacy group, Moms Demand Action, has come out against the law.
Erica Lawrence of Alice is a member of the group. Tragedy involving a gun hit very close to her.
"Yes, my husband's uncle died by firearm suicide recently," said Lawrence.
That’s one of the reasons why the group is promoting responsible gun safety and storage. Last weekend, the group invited local businesses to post signs prohibiting firearms in their establishments.
Enforcement of the new law could be another area of concern, or is it?
"It's not really gonna change the way we do our business, to be honest with you,” said Lieutenant Michael Pena, the PIO with the Corpus Christi Police Department.
Some law enforcement groups voiced concern about the “Constitutional Carry” law during the last legislative session. They feared it would put their safety at risk.
However, Corpus Christi police see it differently, more specifically, starting with the enactment of the concealed carry law.
"I think that the fear that happens when we first went to that law in 95 - it wasn't founded. And then when the open carry happens, you know people, I think most of us thought everybody's gonna walk around with a gun on their hip, and you just don't see it," said Pena.
Check out other Texas laws that might affect you starting Sept. 1 here.