guns in school

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Saturday marks the one-year anniversary of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

The shooting left 20 students and six adults dead. It also caused school districts and lawmakers across the country to re-examine security protocols in schools – including Texas. 

“When you talk about Sandy Hook Elementary and what happened that day – I think that a lot of people believe that it created or caused a reaction by law enforcement, first responders – that somehow changed from what we had been doing," says Austin School District Police Chief Eric Mendez.

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The controversial policy of allowing armed marshals at public schools could soon be a reality for some Texas school districts. Under a new law passed during the most recent legislative session, school administrators may designate a trained employee to act as school marshal, authorized to carry a concealed handgun to respond in emergency situations.

Gov. Rick Perry signed House Bill 1009, also known as the Protection of Children Act, into law this June. Rep. Jason Villalba, R-Dallas, penned the bill in response to the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut.

Todd Wiseman/Texas Tribune

Texas is a gun-friendly state. I’m not telling you anything you didn’t already know. That fact is easy to see during any given legislative session, when bills are often filed expanding where people can carry in the state.

KUT News

Update: The Senate Education Committee approved a bill Thursday that would pay to train teachers and employees who carry weapons on school property.

There’s a new push for a cap on the cost for the training, but now it looks like even that would be more than enough.

The bill would rely mainly on private donations. If there’s not enough private funding, the state would allocate one million. Senator Dan Patrick (R- Harris County) is sponsoring the bill. He says out a the entire state budget, one million for security is worth it. 

A task force launched by the National Rifle Association after the Dec. 14 school shooting in Newtown, Conn., has come back with a report that recommends the creation of programs that give additional weapons training to school resource officers as well as "selected and designated school personnel" who could then carry arms.

Texas Tribune

Lawmakers considered two handgun-related bills today.

Under a bill by Rep. Lon Burnam, D-Fort Worth, out-of-state concealed-carry handgun permits would not be valid in Texas. At a public hearing today, John Woods of Texas Gun Sense said out-of-state businesses are marketing permits to Texas residents as an easier way to get a concealed handgun license.

“They advertise on Facebook and Google,” Woods said. “It would be better if there were a more substantive requirement.”

Update at 11:15 a.m. ET: Senate Passes Measure:

The Associated Press reports that the committee cast a 10-8 party-line vote, with all Republicans opposed, on the measure to expand a requirement of background checks for gun sales between private parties.

The Associated Press reports:

"The bill's sponsor, New York Democrat Sen. Charles Schumer, said the measure will reduce gun crimes, and said he hopes he can strike a compromise on the measure with Republicans, which would enhance the measure's chances of passing in the full Senate.

Todd Wiseman/Texas Tribune

The December school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut left the nation stunned and  grief-stricken – and scared it could happen again.

Texas lawmakers have filed a handful of bills they say could increase security for students and peace of mind for parents. But some say those bills are more show than substance.

"A couple of bills are obviously just designed to appeal to the NRA while making it appear that they’re trying to make schools safer, when in fact they wouldn’t," says Texas State Teachers Association spokesman Clay Robison.

Investigators trying to piece together a motive in December's killings in Newtown, Conn., believe that 20-year-old shooter Adam Lanza may have been inspired by a similar 2011 massacre in Norway.

The Hartford Courant and CBS News report that authorities searching through Lanza's belongings after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary discovered several news articles about Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 77 people in Norway in July 2011.

Todd Wiseman/Texas Tribune

Texas lawmakers have rallied around the idea of making elementary schools safer. There have been calls to allow anyone with a concealed handgun license to bring guns onto public school campuses. Or for teachers to get concealed carry licenses.

The latest idea comes from a bill filed by State Representative Jason Villalba (R-Dallas). He wanted to know what schools and professional school security organizations wanted.

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
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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.