guns

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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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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