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Slew of New Texas Gun Laws Become Effective Sept. 1

Slew of New Texas Gun Laws Become Effective Sept. 1

Following a 2013 legislative session that included the passage of a record number of pro-firearms measures, numerous changes to Texas gun laws become effective this weekend, on September 1.

SB 1907 prohibits Texas state colleges and universities from adopting policies that prohibit persons with a valid state concealed handgun license (CHL) from possession, transportation and storage of lawfully owned firearms and ammunition in private motor vehicles on campus.

SB 864, which was signed by Gov. Rick Perry in May, reduces the minimum requirement of CHL classroom instruction from 10 hours to four and trims the classroom instruction maximum from 15 hours to six. The legislation also gives the Department of Public Safety the authority to oversee allowing online classroom courses for CHL holders seeking to renew their licenses.

HB 48 streamlines the CHL renewal process and offers more flexibility by eliminating the continuing education requirement and handgun proficiency demonstration while also providing for online renewal. License holders will still be required to renew licenses every five years, but they will be provided an informational form regarding firearm and deadly force laws, which must be signed and submitted with the renewal application.

HB 3142 repeals the SA/NA designation for the CHL license and permits those taking the handgun proficiency demonstration who do so with a revolver be permitted to carry a semi-automatic.

SB 299 protects CHL holders against charges of unlawful carry for the unintentional or accidental display of a handgun. The measure changes the offense of intentional display of a handgun by a CHL holder (punishable as a Class A misdemeanor) from "intentionally fails to conceal" to "intentionally displays," and allows display with justified force instead of deadly force.

SB 1857 creates a school-safety certification for licensed CHL instructors to train teachers, administrators and staff who also are licensed concealed carry holders in defensive tactics inside school facilities. The certification requirements include 15 to 20 hours of training, including on campus if approved by a school district or charter school.

HB 698 requires access to digital fingerprinting for CHLs not more than 25 miles from the applicant's residence and is limited to counties with a population of 46,000 or less. This law is specific to rural Texans who must drive hundreds of miles for digital fingerprinting.

HB 1421 provides law enforcement agencies an option in statute to sell confiscated firearms to a federal firearms dealer (FFL) instead of destroying them. After the cost of the sale and any other related charges, funds may remain with that law enforcement agency.

HB 333 requires hotels and motels to provide advance notice if they prohibit firearms.

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