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Hope Holland Hannah

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  1. (CNN)A series of new firearm laws will go into effect in Texas next month -- further loosening gun restrictions in a state that's had four of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in modern US history. The laws -- passed before a gunman massacred 22 people and injured dozens in El Paso last weekend -- will make it easier to have guns in a state with some of the most lax weapons restrictions in the nation. Here are the key firearm laws going into effect on September 1: Weapons on school grounds House Bill 1143 says a school district cannot prohibit licensed gun owners, including school employees, from storing a firearm or ammunition in a locked vehicle on a school parking lot -- provided they are not in plain view. Kris Brown, president of gun violence prevention advocacy group Brady, criticized the bill going into effect September 1. "Many states took the opportunity in the last two years to learn lessons from the tragedies in Las Vegas, Sutherland Springs, Parkland, and the every day gun violence that plagues our citizens, and enacted new laws to protect public safety through expanded background checks and extreme risk laws, which allow families and law enforcement to remove guns temporarily from individuals at risk of harming themselves or others," Brown said. "Texas lawmakers, instead of reacting to the horrific shooting in Santa Fe by focusing on keeping guns out of dangerous hands, or even emphasizing safe storage of guns, instead doubled down on an NRA led agenda to encourage guns everywhere, no matter the risks and costs to safety." Marshals at schools House Bill 1387 loosens restrictions on how many armed school marshals a school district can appoint. Guns in foster homes House Bill 2363 allows some foster homes to store firearms and ammunition in a safe and secure place for personal protection. Proper storage must be followed, the bill says, including putting firearms and ammunition together in the same locked locations. It also goes into effect on September 1. Weapons in apartments House Bill 302 bans homeowners or landlords of rental property from prohibiting residents from lawfully possessing, carrying, transporting or storing a firearm or ammunition in the property. Handguns during a disaster House Bill 1177 prohibits residents from being charged with a crime for carrying a handgun while evacuating from a state or local disaster area. Firearms in places of worship Senate Bill 535 clarifies the possession of firearms at churches, synagogues or other places of worship. It allows licensed handgun owners to legally carry their weapons in places of worship -- and comes nearly two years after a gunman killed 26 people at Sutherland Springs church. "We have learned many times over that there is no such thing as a gun free zone. Those with evil intentions will violate the law and carry out their heinous acts no matter what," state Sen. Donna Campbell, co-sponsor of the bill, said in a statement. "It makes no sense to disarm the good guys and leave law-abiding citizens defenseless where violent offenders break the law to do great harm." The bill will make things clearer, she said. "The existing statute is confusing and clunky when it comes to clearly stating the rights of licensed Texans to carry on the premises of a church. This bill provides clarity of the Legislature's intent to treat churches in the same manner as other privately owned establishments in Texas."
  2. President Trump added fuel to the conspiracy theories surrounding multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein's apparent suicide on Saturday when he retweeted a post that implied former President Bill Clinton was linked to Epstein's death. The tweet came from self-described comedian Terrence K. Williams who echoed many on social media in suggesting a connection between the Clintons and Epstein, who previously was an acquaintance of the former president. "Died of SUICIDE on 24/7 SUICIDE WATCH ? Yeah right! How does that happen," the tweet read, alongside a photo of Epstein and one of the Clintons. "#JefferyEpstein had information on Bill Clinton & now he’s dead I see #TrumpBodyCount trending but we know who did this! RT if you’re not Surprised." Trump's tweet came shortly after Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., pushed back on the "immediate rush to spread conspiracy theories about someone" in another political party. 7,256 people are talking about this Williams' video argued that "for some odd reason, people with information on the Clintons end up dead and they usually die from suicide." "C'mon now," he continued incredulously on the video. The Associated Press reported that Epstein had been placed on suicide watch after an incident last month in which Epstein was found with bruising on his neck, though it has never been made clear whether those injuries were the result of a suicide attempt or an assault by a fellow inmate. However, a Bureau of Prisons spokesman told the New York Post Saturday that Epstein was not on suicide watch at the time of his death and AP reported he had been taken off suicide watch at the end of last month. The well-connected financier was indicted last month on federal sex trafficking charges and faced up to 45 years in prison. On Saturday, Trump's Justice Department announced it would pursue an investigation into Epstein's death. “I was appalled to learn that Jeffrey Epstein was found dead early this morning from an apparent suicide while in federal custody. Mr. Epstein’s death raises serious questions that must be answered," Attorney General William Barr said. "In addition to the FBI’s investigation, I have consulted with the Inspector General who is opening an investigation into the circumstances of Mr. Epstein’s death."
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