Guns

flickr.com/wmode

Allowing teachers to carry concealed handguns could make them targets in a school shooting, according to one law enforcement expert who testified before lawmakers Monday. State Senators held a joint committee hearing to hear ideas on improving safety in public schools in the wake of a school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut that claimed 26 lives. 

Texas Lawmakers to Discuss School Safety Policy Changes

Jan 28, 2013
flickr.com/alamosbasement

Texas lawmakers are coming together to talk about school safety this afternoon.

The Senate Committee on Education is meeting with the Committee on Agriculture, Rural Affairs and Homeland Security to review current student safety policies and to discuss the potential for any policy changes.

Senators will hearing from both the public and experts about how improvements can be made to school safety.

facebook.com/SmithermanTX

As part of the debate over guns and violence, there’s a new twist developing in Texas: the head of one state agency is proposing that its employees should be provided training so they can legally carry a concealed handgun on the job.

The agency has inspectors that enforce the rules on the state’s surging oil and gas drilling industry.

Congressional Democrats appeared on Capitol Hill Thursday to push for a new ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

The bill's author, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, started her remarks with a roster of tragedy: "Columbine. Virginia Tech. Aurora. Tucson. Oak Creek. The common thread in these shootings is each gunman used a semiautomatic assault weapon or large-capacity ammunition magazine."

As they said they would following the Dec. 14 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Democrats today unveiled legislation that would ban assault-style weapons.

The lead lawmaker, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, has summed up the legislation's key points this way:

KUT News

A small school district in East Texas became the second in the state to allow some staff members to carry concealed handguns. The school board at Union Grove ISD – just outside Longview – voted this week to allow trained staff members access firearms in the event of an armed intruder.

“It is up to the discretion of the local board," said Texas Education Agency spokesperson Debbie Ratcliffe. "There’s a provision in the Texas Penal Code that basically says schools are a gun free zone unless the school board adopts a policy that permits it.”

Texas Tribune

While December's fatal shooting at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school led the Obama administration to re-examine federal gun laws, Texas lawmakers have been hard at work on gun-related legislation since November, when they were first able to file bills for the 83rd legislative session. Most of those bills aim to widen rather than restrict access to guns.

Gage Skidmore

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is inviting New Yorkers who feel their state's new gun laws are too restrictive to migrate to Texas. 

Abbott has launched a new Google ad campaign encouraging New Yorkers to move to Texas. It says gun-loving Yanks "will have the right to bear arms" and, due to Texas’ low taxes, will also have "more money to buy ammo."

States aren't likely to prevent many shootings by requiring mental health professionals to report potentially violent patients, psychiatrists and psychologists say.

flickr.com/kcdstm

President Obama’s call to ban assault weapons, place limits on high-capacity magazines and enact other controls on gun ownership has upset a lot of powerful interests in Texas.

Some politicians say one of the major causes of gun violence is pop culture -- TV, music and video games. KUT’s Nathan Bernier spoke with Dominic Lasorsa, a professor of journalism at the University of Texas who has studied the role of TV violence in society.

Liang Shi for KUT

President Obama’s call today for a series of stronger gun control measures met with immediate opposition here in Texas.

Gov. Rick Perry issued a statement calling for prayer and said that “guns require a finger to pull the trigger.”

Gun advocates, like Bill Titus of the Texas Concealed Handgun Association, criticized the efficacy and intent of President Obama’s proposals.

At a White House event with children who wrote him letters after the Dec. 14 school shooting in Newtown, Conn., President Obama today said the nation cannot wait any longer to do what can be done to reduce gun violence.

flickr.com/photos/ranchocanyon

Today President Obama is expected to release details of proposals from a gun violence task force convened in the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings.

In the days following Sandy Hook, many experts and pundits spoke of the need for better mental health care and screening.

Jillian Schantz Patrick for KUT News

Travis County commissioners have opted against halting gun shows at the Travis County Expo Center.

The commissioners court was set to discuss the possibility of banning gun shows at the County Expo Center today. But after consulting with legal counsel behind closed doors, commissioners unanimously approved a different motion.

County Judge Sam Biscoe proposed that the county honor all existing gun shows at the expo center, but ask the director of the center to liaison with the court about  future shows, especially events including “any licenses involving any usually high safety risks.”

Update at 1:25 p.m. ET. Announcement on Wednesday:

The White House says President Obama and Vice President Biden will unveil the steps they intend to take and legislation they recommend to reduce gun violence at 11:45 a.m. ET on Wednesday.

Our original post:

Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

Update: The Travis County Commissioners scheduled to take action today on a controversial proposal to ban gun shows at the Travis County Expo Center and other county-owned facilities. 

Commissioners will take up the topic at 10 a.m.

Original Post (Jan. 7, 6:04 p.m.): There’s a gun show at the Travis County Exposition Center about once a month, but that may come to an end. On Tuesday, Travis County commissioners will consider a measure that would no longer allow gun shows on county land or at county facilities.

At a news conference dominated by discussion of what's expected to be Washington's next big political battle, President Obama insisted Monday that he will not let Republicans tie an increase in the federal government's borrowing limit to negotiations over cuts in future federal spending.

Vice President Joe Biden is getting ready to make recommendations on how to reduce gun violence in the wake of the school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

But he says his task force is facing an unexpected obstacle: slim or outdated research on weapons.

Public health research dried up more than a decade ago after Congress restricted the use of some federal money to pay for those studies.

A Researcher Under Fire

Texas Tribune

In the wake of school shootings -- Texas Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst says he wants government-funded weapons training for teachers.  Dewhurst is asking State Senators to explore such a program and provide recommendations.

"The training involved with the concealed handgun law license is not sufficient in my judgment to have that person trained for an event involving an active shooter," Dewhurst said.

The National Rifle Association accused the White House of having "an agenda to attack the Second Amendment" Thursday, after representatives of the group attended meetings on gun control hosted by Vice President Biden.

The Obama administration is using the meetings to collect ideas and possibly ease the way for gun control legislation, which became a higher priority after the tragic school shooting in Newtown, Conn., last month. But it seems there was no ground bridged in the meetings with the NRA.

flickr.com/ChrisWaldeck

The National Rifle Association is asking its members to contact Travis County Commissioners-- publishing Commissioners’ names, phone numbers and email addresses on the NRA website.

Travis County is considering banning gun shows at the County Expo Center and the NRA is asking its members to get involved.  Commissioners’ staffers say they’re getting up to 200 emails each day, along with calls and faxes, many from out-of-state.

County Judge Sam Biscoe says Commissioners will probably vote on the issue next Tuesday, but the outcome may depend on legal issues. 

flickr.com/glasgows

The City of Austin is considering policy changes aimed at reducing gun violence and illegal gun trafficking.

Council member Mike Martinez says "there is a broad national conversation about curbing gun violence," and he thinks the city has a responsibility "to do everything we can do." 

A subcommittee consisting of Martinez, along with fellow council members Laura Morrison and Chris Riley, will meet next Tuesday to consider legal options and to hear opinions from the Mayor's staff and Police Chief Art Acevedo.  

After Vice President Biden said Wednesday that the Obama administration might take some executive actions on the issues of guns and gun-related violence, questions naturally arose:

What kinds of things was he talking about? What might the administration do that doesn't require Congressional action?

"We are sending a rep to hear what they have to say," National Rifle Association spokesman Andrew Arulanandam says of the organization's decision to accept an invitation from the task force Vice President Biden is leading — the group that's studying gun laws and related issues in the wake of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Con

CNN

The reviews are in regarding Alex Jones’ appearance with CNN’s Piers Morgan last night:

“An uncontrolled explosion,” per the Washington Post.  “An intense pro-gun rant,” says the Huffington Post. And … “Armed Mafia Stalk Alex Jones Post Piers Morgan Debate,” via Jones’ own Infowars.

The Austin-based conspiracy theorist, radio host and public access superstar appeared on Morgan’s show for what was billed as a discussion on “Guns in America.” Unsurprisingly, the discussion soon went south – not that surprising a move, when your guest has co-authored a White House petition to deport your host.

When children are gunned down in their classrooms, as happened last month in Newtown, Conn., it's time to say "enough," former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., tells ABC News.

Nouriel Roubini recently sent a Tweet suggesting that gun owners should have to buy liability insurance, just like car owners do:

If we had liability insurance on guns, as we do 4 cars, we will see which insurance company would insure at which price folks with arsenals

flickr.com/thomashawk

In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting, state governments across the nation are re-examaning their gun laws.

No license is required for purchasing and owning a firearm there is no licensing requirement. All that is required is a state-issued ID that says you are at least 18 years to purchase a rifle, or at least 21 years to purchase a handgun. 

If President Obama takes the lead in a movement for more effective gun control now that he's been stirred to action by the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, it would mark a significant break from his pattern so far as chief executive.

For while Obama has dutifully served as the nation's consoler in chief in localities where the all-too-frequent mass shootings have occurred, that has seemed the extent of the official response observable to White House outsiders.

Pages