Watch CBS News

Constitutional Carry, Fetal Heartbeat Bill Among Hundreds Of New Laws Taking Effect In Texas

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - More than 660 new state laws take effect in Texas on Wednesday, September 1.

They include constitutional or permitless carry, which generated a lot of debate even among Republicans earlier this year.

Under the law, Texans 21 and older will be able to carry a handgun either openly in a holster or concealed without first obtaining a license.

People must still pass a background check before being allowed to buy a firearm.

Those who have been convicted of certain offenses in the previous five years can't possess a gun.

The bill increases the penalty for unlawful possession by a person who's prohibited for carrying a weapon.

Places that prohibit firearms will still be able to do so, including college campuses.

Even though the law won't require a training course as before, some gun shops are offering courses about the new law.

Bryan Rastok, Marketing Director for the Texas Gun Experience in Grapevine said, "Holding a firearm is your personal responsibility, so anything you do with that firearm is on you. It is very important to know that laws around carrying that firearm where you can, where you can't, what to do, what not to do, and really take that responsibility seriously."

MORE NEW LAWS TAKING EFFECT: Increased Penalties For Street Racing, Ban On Critical Race Theory Among Texas' New Laws

The founder of the Dallas chapter of the National Latino Law Enforcement Organization, George Aranda, said he's expecting more people to take the law into their own hands. "We are afraid of those individuals that they want to be self vigilantes and take law into their own hands. And that's something that we don't recommend something that we need to leave that to the law enforcement and professionals to do so."

Another law set to go into effect Wednesday is the Fetal Heartbeat bill.

But opponents have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to block the law from taking effect.

As of Tuesday evening, August 31, the nation's highest court had remained silent on the issue.

Michelle Simpson Tuegel, a victims' and womens' rights attorney said, "We need to stop this before it starts."

Supporters like Jonathan Saenz, President of Texas Values said, "It's real simple. If an unborn baby's heartbeat is detected, that life is detected."

In a separate legal matter Tuesday on the same bill, a judge in Austin decided that the group Texas Right To Life couldn't file suit against certain parties that provide abortion related services.

But the judge didn't block the law from going into effect Wednesday.

Under the law, doctors must check for a heartbeat before performing an abortion.

Government entities won't be able to enforce the law, and instead, citizens can file lawsuits against abortion providers if they suspect them of breaking the law.

Saenz said it will save 55,000 abortions from happening in Texas each year.

Simpson Tuegel said this law will have a chilling effect on a woman's right to choose under federal law. "It is used as a tool of harassment to prevent people like rape victims from accessing legal services or accessing the medical care they need and having the choices that they need when something that like that happens."

Saenz said, "We expect this approach to not only hold here in the Texas heartbeat law, but we expect other states are going to follow this type of effort and this type of mechanism as well in law."

Another law is named after Botham Jean, who in 2018 was shot to death in his own apartment by an off-duty police officer who said she thought he was an intruder in her apartment.

It requires police officers to keep their body cameras on during their entire active investigations.

Another law would punish cities with more than 250,000 people that cut their police budgets.

Electric power generators will also have to winterize their equipment to prevent power outages during winter storms.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.