HOUSTON - Flanked by the longtime leader of the National Rifle Association, Governor Greg Abbott signed seven controversial bills into law dramatically expanding Gun rights in Texas.
"There is a need for people to have a weapon to defend themselves in the Lone Star State," said Abbott.
Leading the list, the freedom for most adults to carry a hand-gun just about anywhere, anytime without a permit, a measure legalizing noise suppressors, and the designation of Texas as a Second Amendment Sanctuary State - an action meant to blunt federal intrusion on the right to firearm ownership.
"Heck yes, the Government is coming to take your guns. Texas will not let that happen," pledged Abbott.
"It's an increasingly dangerous world. People want to be able to protect themselves and thank God Texas is leading the way for the country in making that possible," said Wayne LaPierre, longtime leader of the NRA.
Here in Houston, anti-gun violence activists gathered to protest, contending Abbott with a stroke of his pen eliminated the requirement for background checks, safety training, and proof of proficiency for Texans who choose to pack a pistol.
"Now all of those protections are going to be going away. Normal Texans, like all of the people who are here today, are concerned that we are going to be seeing more gun violence," said Liz Hanks with Moms Demand Action.
Others fear an escalation in the number of accidental killings as kids access unsecured hand-guns. Jane Winter lost her son to suicide and believes the proliferation of handguns poses a clear and present threat to those suffering mental distress.
"I think he could have still been alive today because that was a temporary issue, but unfortunately, that was a permanent solution," said Winter who is also a member of Moms Demand Action.
The "Permitless Carry" Law also increases criminal penalties for felons caught in possession of a firearm.
All seven laws expanding gun rights take effect on September 1st.