SAN ANTONIO — A slew of new laws passed by Texas politicians will become effective next Wednesday, including the controversial permitless carry bill.
The so-called "Constitutional Carry" law was praised by gun rights groups and Gov. Greg Abbott as an extension of American freedoms.
Abbott stressed Texas needs to stand out as a Second Amendment sanctuary state, free of federal government intervention. Law enforcement groups and gun-control organizations, however, have expressed concern about the bill’s passage.
“As a mom of a 17-year-old, of course I’m concerned about her safety," said Linda Magid, a volunteer with Moms Demand Action in San Antonio. "I’m concerned about my safety and I’m concerned about the safety of our community."
Moms Demand Action volunteers plan on educating local business owners this weekend about legal ways to prevent people with guns from entering, whether or not they have a license to carry.
It involves signage citing Texas penal code 30.05.
“We’re asking businesses to allow that 11-by-17 space and put a sign up to keep people (who) maybe aren’t allowed to have that firearm, legally not allowed to have that firearm or just have no training at all to carry a weapon into a store or restaurant,” Magid said.
The law allows people 21 years of age and older to carry a handgun in public without training, a background check or a permit.
The bill also includes enhanced criminal penalties for domestic violence offenders found with a gun.
“The only way that’s actually going to achieve meaningful survivor and public safety is if we’re actually implementing those prohibitions,” said Krista Del Gallo, who works as the policy manager at the Texas Council on Family Violence.
When an abuser has access to a firearm, the risk of their intimate partner being killed is increased by 500%, Del Gallo said.
The organization is ramping up efforts to educate judges, prosecutors and law enforcement on the importance of keeping guns out of the hands of domestic violence perpetrators.
“And we’re going to continue to talk about this and encourage and elevate the creation of the firearm disposition protocols at the community level because that’s the only thing that’s actually going to achieve safety and implementation of laws that have already been on the books,” Del Gallo said.
Meanwhile, gun store owners are preparing for an influx of gun sales when the law becomes effective on Sept. 1.