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.”

Assault Weapons Ban is Gun Debate's First Casualty

Mar 19, 2013

The prospects of an assault weapons ban emerging as part of any post-Newtown gun control law looks highly unlikely after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid opted not to include it in a Democratic proposal to be offered on the Senate floor in coming weeks.

"My understanding is it will not be [part of the base bill]" to be introduced on the Senate floor, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said after meeting with Reid on Monday, according to Politico. "The leader has decided not to do it."

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.

Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

Good morning. The National Weather Service says Austin’s in for a partly cloudy and cool day, with a high in the mid-60s.

Lead Story: This year’s array of South by Southwest conferences started this week with South by Southwest EDU, focusing on education.

One speaker yesterday was AISD Superintendent Meria Carstarphen, who looked ahead at the changing challenges for public education.

Senate Hearing on Gun Control Turns Emotional

Feb 27, 2013

Things on Capitol Hill today turned emotional, when Neil Heslin, whose 6-year-old son was killed in Sandy Hook, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Throughout, Heslin held a picture of him holding his son Jesse Lewis, who was 6 at the time of rampage, during his first Christmas. Two other oversized pictures of a smiling Jesse were place on easels beside him.

Heslin's voice cracked almost from the beginning, when he said Jesse was killed about 20 minutes after he dropped him off at school.

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.

Paul Moseley/Fort Worth Star-Telegram / MCT /Landov

Update: The Navy sniper killed this month at a North Texas gun range will be buried at the Texas State Cemetery in East Austin today.

While the funeral for Chief Petty Officer Chris Kyle will be closed to the public, people are invited to observe the funeral procession.

See a map of the procession route, below.

Services were held for Chad Littleton today at the First Baptist Church in Midlothian, Texas. He, along with former Navy SEAL and best-selling “American Sniper” author Chris Kyle were killed Saturday at a gun range outside of Fort Worth. Kyle was reportedly killed by a fellow veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Kyle will be buried Tuesday at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin, following a Monday service at the Dallas Cowboys stadium. Thousands are expected to attend the public ceremony Monday to remember the man widely recognized as “America’s deadliest sniper.”

A new Quinnipiac University poll finds Americans overwhelmingly support background checks on all gun sales.

The poll found that 92 percent of Americans support the checks, while 7 percent oppose them.

Quinnipiac also found that 52 percent support stricter gun laws and 56 percent support "a ban on the sale of assault weapons."

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.

Update: Austin’s Public Safety Commission voted unanimously Monday to send a resolution to local leaders aimed at reducing gun violence.

The resolution encourages the Austin City Council, Travis County Commissioners, the Austin Independent School Board and Austin Community College to stop leasing facilities for gun shows—or to require those shows to conduct background checks.

The commission also wants local law enforcement to hold gun buyback programs and to collect data on guns used in crimes.

More is being learned today about former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle and the man accused of killing the decorated Iraq War veteran.

KUT News

A new survey of Texas voters reveals support for a ban on assault weapons: 49 percent of those surveyed supported a ban on military-style rifles, while 41 percent opposed a ban, according to an automated telephone survey of 500 Texas registered voters, conducted by the North Carolina firm Public Policy Polling.

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

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.

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."