Gun Laws

Cornyn calls for hearings on gun law enforcement

Sen. John Cornyn is hoping to use his spot on the Senate Judiciary Committee to push for stronger enforcement of federal gun laws. At a committee meeting today, Sen. Cornyn called for a hearding on the Department of Justice’s handling of enforcement. Afterward, we got a chance to ask Cornyn which specific laws he thought weren’t being enforced. One thing he mentioned was a state-level obligation to submit mental health data to a larger database.

“If there’s one thing we’ve learned from some of these terrible tragedies, it’s that we need to get a better handle on people with mental health conditions who may end up committing these heinous acts of violence, and submitting this information by the state to the federal government so it can be included in background checks as an important part of that.”

You can see his full response by clicking on the video link below.

Poll: Texas voters support both the NRA and an assault weapons ban

Texans have a favorable view of the National Rifle Association, but most support a ban on military-style assault weapons. That is according to the latest Public Policy Polling survey released today. 

Of the 500 Texans polled, 46% said they had a favorable opinion of the National Rifle Association, compared to 41 percent who had an unfavorable opinion. On the issue of guns, more people said they trust the NRA than trust President Obama. 

In contrast, the poll also shows 49% of Texas voters would support a ban on assault weapons. 41% of those polled say they are against a ban. PPP’s Tom Jensen said: “We’ve found support for the assault weapons ban everywhere we’ve polled it, but it’s particularly striking to see that voters favor it in a pro-gun, anti-Obama state like Texas.”


Sen. Cruz takes aim at assault weapons ban bill

U.S. Sen Ted Cruz is coming out strong against an assault weapons ban being proposed in Congress. 

Congressional Democrats reintroduced the legislation on Capitol Hill today.  The measure is authored by Democrat Dianne Feinstein; who wrote the original legislation during the Clinton administration.  The bill is part of a larger gun safety package being supported by President Obama.

Critics have said the ban would be ineffective and the National Rifle Association has strongly opposed it.

Sen. Cruz voiced his opposition today, accusing lawmakers of politicizing the Sandy Hook school shooting.  In a statement, he said:

“Real assault weapons—machine guns—are already functionally illegal, and they have been since 1934. This proposal would have done nothing to prevent the terrible murders in Newtown, but it would limit the constitutional liberties of law-abiding citizens. And gun control doesn’t work – the empirical data overwhelmingly demonstrate that strict gun-control laws consistently produce more crime and more murders.

The Second Amendment exists to ensure that law-abiding Americans can protect their homes and families, and I look forward to helping lead the fight to defeat this bill and to protect our constitutional right to keep and bear arms.”




Sean Rushton

Capital Tonight: New ideas on school security

In the wake of last month’s mass shooting in Newtown Connecticut, Texas lawmakers continue to propose new ideas on how to keep students safe. Tuesday, Republican Sen. Tommy Williams, Democratic Sen. John Whitmire and Republican Rep. Dan Huberty announced their intention to file the “Texas School District Security Act.”

The bill would allow individual school districts to create a security fund, separate from all other district funding, to pay for licensed law enforcement officers. The bill’s creators say the emphasis on local control is what makes their idea different.

“I believe that school communities are smart enough to figure out what works best for them and how much they are willing to commit to solve their security issues,” Sen. Williams said.

The law would also include some safeguards, including a requirement for public hearings and the ability to repeal the change through district-wide petition. One hiccup: lawmakers admit a statewide constitutional amendment might be necessary to give school districts the authority to implement such a change.

One man who isn’t shy about his thoughts on school security or gun control or is Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson. He stopped by the Capital Tonight studio Tuesday to talk about those issues and more.

And Harvey Kronberg of The Quorum Report is looking at a possible shift among Republican voters when it comes to immigration reform. Click the image below to see the full episode.






Abbott ads encourage New Yorkers to ‘keep your guns, come to TX’

Attorney General Greg Abbott is getting creative with his campaign dollars.

According to the Austin American Statesman, a new series of advertisements is popping up in New York, targeting people who may be opposed to their state’s sweeping new gun laws. The ads redirect to a Facebook page, where the viewer is encouraged to move to Texas.

“Here in Texas, you will have the liberty and the opportunity to achieve your dreams,” the page says. “You’ll also get to keep more of what you earn and use some of that extra money to buy more ammo.”

The Statesman reports that the ads appear on major online news outlets, like the New York Times.


Obama: “Now is the Time”

Here is President Obama’s full “plan to protect our children and our communities by reducing gun violence.”

Gov. Perry fires back at Obama gun proposals

Gov. Rick Perry is taking aim at President Obama’s $500 million dollar gun safety package. 

The plan, announced this morning, includes 23 executive actions and several legislative proposals. His executive orders, which do not require approval by Congress, include improved access to data for background checks and more mental health research to determine the causes of gun violence. 

In addition, the President is asking Congress to pass a ban on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.  He is also calling for universal background checks for gun sales.

In an email statement, Gov. Perry accused the Obama administration of using the Newtown shootings to “advance a pre-existing political agenda.”  The full statement is below.

“The Vice President’s committee was appointed in response to the tragedy at Newtown, but very few of his recommendations have anything to do with what happened there.

Guns require a finger to pull the trigger. The sad young man who did that in Newtown was clearly haunted by demons and no gun law could have saved the children in Sandy Hook Elementary from his terror.

There is evil prowling in the world – it shows up in our movies, video games and online fascinations, and finds its way into vulnerable hearts and minds. As a free people, let us choose what kind of people we will be.  Laws, the only redoubt of secularism, will not suffice.  Let us all return to our places of worship and pray for help. Above all, let us pray for our children.

In fact, the piling on by the political left, and their cohorts in the media, to use the massacre of little children to advance a pre-existing political agenda that would not have saved those children, disgusts me, personally.  The second amendment to the Constitution is a basic right of free people and cannot be nor will it be abridged by the executive power of this or any other president.”

Capital Tonight: Bill aims to make federal gun laws ‘unenforceable’ within state borders

Texas lawmakers are already planning for the possibility of stricter gun regulations.

Republican Rep. Steve Toth is in the process of filing a bill dubbed the “Firearms Protection Act,” which aims to make any federal law banning semi-automatic firearms or limiting the size of gun magazines unenforceable within the state’s boundaries.

“We’re not trying to do anything radical and crazy,” Rep. Toth said. “We’re just trying to preserve, protect and defend our rights.”

The legislation also calls for the criminal prosecution of any federal official who might come into the state to enforce stricter gun regulations, should President Obama take executive action.

“Maybe, just maybe, this will wind its way through the courts and we will be able to challenge executive orders, which are being abused right now.” Rep. Toth said.

In Tuesday night’s show, we also looked at the impact of one omission in the House budget proposal — that of funding for statewide school testing.

“We did some things in the introduced bill that we wanted to start the discussion,” Rep. Jim Pitts explained.

That discussion is just what many education groups were looking for. Holly Eaton with the Texas Classroom Teachers Association says that, while it may be a little item in the overall scheme of things, it’s hugely important to some.

“We test more than even the federal law requires,” Eaton said. “So we could at least scale down the number of tests required of a student to take.” 

Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples has a hard-nosed assessment of where things stand when it comes to Texas’ water woes: “Texas has a water crisis. It is not imaginary, it is very real.”

He’s pointing to voluntary conservation as a significant part of a multi-tiered solution.

“Water conservation is really the least expensive method of obtaining new water. And 26-million Texans times a few drops saved by each really adds up,” Staples said.  

We also heard from Democratic strategist Glenn Smith and Republican Strategist Ted Delisi, on everything from new campaign finance numbers to gun control.

Click the image below to watch tonight’s entire episode online.