The law still bars carrying a handgun for those convicted of a felony, who are intoxicated or committing another crime. In Harris County, criminal cases involving illegal weapons possession have sharply increased since the new law went into effect: 3,500 so far this year, as of the middle of October, versus 2,300 in all of 2021 and an average of about 1,000 cases in prior years going back to 2012.

“It’s shocking,” said Kim Ogg, the Harris County district attorney. “We’ve seen more carrying weapons, which by itself would be legal. But people are carrying the weapons while committing other crimes, and I’m not talking just about violent crimes. I’m talking about intoxication crimes or driving crimes or property crimes, carrying weapons on school property or in another prohibited place,” including bars and school grounds.

Her office provided a sampling of arrests in the last few weeks: a 21-year-old man carrying a pistol and a second magazine while walking through the grounds of an elementary school during school hours; a man jumping from his car and opening fire at the driver of Tesla in a fit of road rage; a woman, while helping her little brother into a car, turning to shoot at another woman after an argument over a social media video.

In the case of Mr. Earls, the man accused of fatally shooting 9-year-old Arlene Alvarez while shooting at a fleeing robber, Ms. Ogg’s office presented evidence to a grand jury of charges ranging from negligent homicide to murder. The grand jury rejected those charges.

A lawyer for Mr. Earls declined to make him available to comment. The man who robbed Mr. Earls and his wife remains unidentified, Ms. Ogg said.

In May, a committee of the Texas House heard testimony from gun rights advocates who praised the passage of permitless carry and argued that it may be time to go further.

Rachel Malone, of Gun Owners of America, outlined some of her group’s priorities for the next legislative session.

“I think it would be appropriate to move the age for permitless carry to 18,” she told the committee. “There’s really no reason why a legal adult should not be able to defend themselves.”

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