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Gregg County event organizers will now have to apply for a mass gathering permit

"Moving forward from today, they have to go through the permit process or they won't be allowed to have it," said Craig Harrington, Chief Deputy.

GREGG COUNTY, Texas — Following the trail ride shooting in Smith County, Gregg County event organizers will now have to apply for a mass gathering permit prior to the event. 

Gregg County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Craig Harrington said it's a law that's been in the books for quite some time. 

Due to last month's trail ride shooting, Gregg County made safety a top priority.

"That incident reinforces why law enforcement needs to have an informed response," Harrington said. "We're just creating a permit process so that the county is aware of what events are going on."

The application for the permit will soon be posted on their website

The statement provided by the Sherriff's Office:

Under the Texas Mass Gathering Act, the County Judge or his designee (Gregg County Sheriff Maxey Cerliano) must approve any gathering that will occur outside the city limits for more than five continuous hours or for any amount of time between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. in the unincorporated area of the County when the event: attracts more then 2,500 people; or attracts more than 500 people if more than 51 percent of the attendees are expected to be under the age of 21 and alcohol is expected to be served; or when horse or greyhound racing occurs and more than 100 people are expected to attend. The statute requires that the event organizer apply for the Gregg County Mass Gathering Permit at least 45 days before the event, and provides for a hearing process if the application is submitted timely and with all required information. Under the statute, mass gathering events may not be promoted until they are approved.

The Gregg County Commissioners Court met Monday, officially enacting the Texas Mass Gathering Act. 

Starting Monday, warnings will be issued. 

"We're going to try to issue warnings at first," Harrington said. "Moving forward, they have to go through the permit process or they won't be allowed to have it." 

RELATED: UPDATE: 13-year-old shot during trail ride event in Smith County

RELATED: Smith County deputies continue to investigate trail ride shooting, unpermitted mass gatherings

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