■ Austin eatery owner’s ‘white kids’ re­mark sparks out­rage,

Gun laws

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - Con­tin­ued from A Con­tact Mike Ward at 474-2791.

lence on col­lege cam­puses is nuts. Right now, its only the bad guys who have guns on cam­puses — and there’s some sen­ti­ment that if some­one would have had a gun, they could have put a stop to the tragedy.”

Se­nate Ed­u­ca­tion Com­mit­tee Chair­man Dan Pa­trick, a Hous­ton Repub­li­can who has a state con­cealed­hand­gun per­mit, said he plans to hold a hear­ing on school safety soon af­ter the Leg­is­la­ture con­venes in Jan­uary. And while cam­pus-carry has been de­bated in the past, he agreed that a broader dis­cus­sion of safety on school cam­puses is needed.

“We need to do all we can to en­sure that our schools are safe,” he said.

Perry, who has a hand­gun per­mit and is a fre­quent recre­ational tar­get shooter, es­ca­lated the de­bate Mon­day by ad­vo­cat­ing for teach­ers and school ad­min­is­tra­tors to be al­lowed to carry prop­erly li­censed hand­guns.

“You should be able to carry your hand­gun any­where in this state,” Perry said at a tea party event in North Rich­land Hills. He qual­i­fied that state­ment by say­ing the de­ci­sion should be lo­cal and that pri­vate prop­erty own­ers should con­tinue to be al­lowed to im­pose their own re­stric­tions.

In re­cent weeks, be­fore the Con­necti­cut shoot­ing, House and Se­nate mem­bers were dis­cussing a va­ri­ety of gun bills, in­clud­ing the cam­pus­carry mea­sure, al­low­ing hand­gun li­censees to carry guns into pri­vate park­ing lots at plants and job sites, even a pro­posal to al­low the open-car­ry­ing of firearms. Most are still in the dis­cus­sion stage, though leg­is­la­tion is ex­pected to be filed soon on all those mea­sures.

Go­ing some­what against that tide, state Rep. Ed­die Rodriguez, D-Austin, an­nounced plans Tues­day to file a bill im­pos­ing more reg­u­la­tion for cer­tain firearms and am­mu­ni­tion. His pro­posal would ban high-ca­pac­ity am­mu­ni­tion clips, im­pose a new train­ing re­quire­ment on pur­chasers of mil­i­tary-style weapons and pro­mote a gun-buy­back pro­gram with cor­po­rate tax cred­its.

Rodriguez said he sup­ports the Sec­ond Amend­ment but called his pro­pos­als “com­mon-sense mea­sures” that could re­duce the num­ber of guns on the streets in the hands of peo­ple who should not have them.

“Mil­i­tary arms that have noth­ing to do with self-de­fense, pub­lic safety, sport or any other prac­ti­cal mat­ter that guns may be used for should be reg­u­lated,” he said.

In mak­ing his an­nounce­ment, Rodriguez ac­knowl­edged, “I’m sure I’ll get plenty of nasty mes­sages about this, but there is noth­ing that can be said that will mit­i­gate the pain of the last few days, the me­mory of those in­no­cent chil­dren in New­town, and the need to ad­dress the sit­u­a­tion here at home be­fore it hap­pens again.”

On Mon­day, state Rep.elect Ja­son Vil­lalba, RDal­las, an­nounced he will file leg­is­la­tion to al­low pub­lic school teach­ers to carry con­cealed weapons at school. Cur­rent law al­lows a school district to per­mit con­cealed hand­guns for spe­cific per­son­nel, although firearms are oth­er­wise pro­hib­ited from school build­ings, of­fi­cials said.

Vil­lalba’s “Pro­tec­tion of Texas Chil­dren Act” would per­mit schools to ap­point a mem­ber of their fac­ulty as a “school mar­shal.” With ap­proved train­ing and cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, the mar­shal could “use lethal force upon the oc­cur­rence of an at­tack in the class­room or else­where on cam­pus,” Vil­lalba, a newly elected state rep­re­sen­ta­tive, said in a state­ment.

Un­der cur­rent Texas law, school dis­tricts can grant writ­ten per­mis­sion for em­ploy­ees to carry firearms on cam­pus. Har­rold In­de­pen­dent School District, a district with roughly 100 stu­dents along the Texas-Ok­la­homa bor­der, al­lows teach­ers to carry con­cealed hand­guns un­der a so-called “Guardian Plan” es­tab­lished in the wake of the 2007 shoot­ing mas­sacre at Vir­ginia Tech Univer­sity.

In 2011, there were more than 518,600 ac­tive con­cealed-hand­gun li­censees in Texas.

While some law­mak­ers ques­tioned pri­vately whether the Con­necti­cut shoot­ings might dampen the chances for pas­sage of lib­er­al­ized gun-car­ry­ing laws in the up­com­ing ses­sion, Whit­mire — the long­est-serv­ing se­na­tor — and other veter­ans said they ex­pect the op­po­site will hap­pen.

“Half my com­mit­tee mem­bers carry guns,” Whit­mire noted. “There’s very se­ri­ous con­cern about safety on our school cam­puses, and I ex­pect you’ll see that ad­dressed.”

Land Com­mis­sioner Jerry Pat­ter­son, who au­thored the 1995 law that es­tab­lished con­cealed-hand­gun per­mits while he was a state se­na­tor, said that could mean changes to make Tex­ans and their cam­puses safer. Un­der cur­rent law, schools, bars, court­houses, jails, polling places and pri­vate prop­erty where signs are posted are among the few places that li­censed hand­gun own­ers can­not carry their firearm.

“Times are dif­fer­ent now than when (the con­cealed­hand­gun li­cense) bill passed,” he said. “There are very few anti-gun leg­is­la­tors still in of­fice.”

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