gun control

Javier Salazar

From the senseless deaths of children in Newtown, Connecticut at Sandy Hook Elementary, to the movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colorado, high-profile tragedies involving guns never cease to shock people across the nation.

The debate has sparked dialogue on whether the problem is guns, or the people behind them.

Bexar County Sheriff Susan Pamerleau said she believes mental illness is an issue that needs to be thoroughly examined.

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The first non-redistricting bills have begun to trickle in at the state capitol for the special session.  

So far none of the legislation has been placed on the special session agenda by Gov. Rick Perry, but the first bill unrelated to the focus of redistricting was filed by Rep. Steve Toth, R-The Woodlands.

Toth's bill was modeled after a bill filed in the regular session that makes it a crime to enforce any new federal guns laws.

Flickr user David Trawin (trawin) / cc

Lawmakers at the capitol have approved a measure to train public school teachers to respond during a mass-shooting event and let die a bill to allow concealed-handgun license holders to carry guns on a college campus. 

As the first of its kinds, House Bill 1009 provides volunteer school teachers with the same level of training as a police officers who respond to a mass-shooting scenario. 

"We plan on passing the bill exactly as it passed the House," said Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, who carried the bill in the Senate.

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House Bill 928 would criminalize any police officer enforcing a new federal gun law in the state of Texas, and it immediately struck tensions between Sen. Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls, and Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston.

"I could be for this if you take an amendment I’m going to offer to your bill," said Ellis. "I’m going to offer an amendment to close the 'gun show loophole.'"

"The criminal background checks at gun shows would doom this wonderful bill that we are trying to do right here," replied Estes.

Flickr user David Trawin (trawin) / cc

After making its way through the Texas House, the Senate Criminal Justice Committee approved a bill that allows students and faculty to carry a handgun to class.

Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, the chair of the committee, told those registered to speak against the campus-carry bill that if this version of the bill didn't make it out of his committee, lawmakers will likely find a way to pass a similar campus-carry bill at another time.