With the support of the Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, a state lawmaker has filed a bill that would block pending federal assault weapons ban from affecting Texas gun owners.
Rep. Steve Toth, R-The Woodlands, said "The Texas Firearms Protection Act" draws a line in the sand when it comes to the ongoing debate in Washington over ban of assault-style weapons like the AR-15, the same type of weapon used in both the Newton, Conn. and Aurora, Colo. mass shootings.
Lawmakers heard testimony today on a series of bills that would allow college students and professors to carry guns on campus. College students, professors, and trained professionals spoke to Members of the House Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety. Some were in favor of the bill, and many felt threatened by the legislation. University of North Texas Professor Dr. Tom Silveck said several incidents in his own classroom could have led to the next mass shooting if handguns were allowed in class.
Over 36 gun bills have been introduced so far this legislative session, ranging from lessening the time it takes to obtain a Concealed Handgun License, to bills like the one authored by Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston that puts additional regulations on gun-owners and sellers.
"Currently Texas allows private weapon sales at gun-shows without background checks, so I filed a bill -- SB 1626 -- and it will require background checks for every gun sold in the state of Texas," Ellis said.
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.
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.
Texas Matters: State revenue numbers look good for this session of the legislature; there is even a surplus. Gov. Rick Perry suggests that the extra money be used to cut taxes, while others want to restore funding to education and health programs that took cuts in the last legislative session. Gun owners in Texas stand their ground as the federal government comes up with its next move to cut down on gun violence.
Lawmakers are back under the dome of the Texas Capitol for a new session for a new age in politics, with the reminder of what happened two years ago in the back of their minds.
Two years ago, education funding was slashed by $5.4 billion, the use of the state’s emergency "rainy day" fund was frowned upon, and a controversial Voter ID bill got through both chambers but was found unconstitutional against minority voters by the court system.
Texas Matters: After reviewing school district safety audits, the attorney general's office found that 78 Texas school districts were not compliant with the law. The Newtown tragedy is also having an effect in San Antonio school districts, where two students who were making jokes about bomb threats and shootings on their own campuses were arrested. Texas Monthly crowns its 2012 Bum Steer of the Year: Lance Armstrong.