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Texas Loosens Gun Restrictions

Charles Blain, a new gun owner, poses with his holstered 9mm Glock 43 handgun, May 3, 2021, on the parking garage of his apartment complex in Houston. Blain also owns a shotgun.

The governor of the U.S. state of Texas has signed a new law that will allow people to carry handguns without possessing a permit or passing a background check.

Gov. Greg Abbott was due to highlight the legislation as part of a ceremony Thursday.

The measure, which goes into effect Sept. 1, applies to anyone who does not have any felony convictions or other legal barriers to owning a gun. Federal background checks for some gun purchases remain in place, and individual businesses can decide to not allow guns on their premises.

Those supporting the measure argue it does away with barriers to their constitutional right to bear arms and improves self-defense.

Opponents, including law enforcement groups, said lifting the restrictions will make it easier for criminals to obtain guns.

Gun control groups also pointed to recent mass shootings in Texas, including a 2019 attack at a Walmart in El Paso.