guns

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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.

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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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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.

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