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While the NRA is meeting in Houston this weekend, Texas state legislators will consider a number of gun bills this Saturday according to the House's current calendar for May 4th. Now is the time to contact our state legislators to express our views regarding limiting the expansion of gun rights in our state.

One bill being considered is HB 972: Relating to the carrying of concealed handguns on the premises of and certain other locations associated with institutions of higher education.

[HB 972] amends the Government Code to authorize a public institution of higher education in Texas, after consulting with the institution's students, staff, and faculty, to adopt written rules or regulations prohibiting concealed handgun license holders from carrying handguns on premises owned or leased and operated by the institution, on any grounds or building owned or leased by the institution and on which an activity sponsored by the institution is being conducted, or on a passenger transportation vehicle of the institution.
TCCTA Urges Action on Guns-On-Campus
One of several introduced bills that would allow licensed carriers of concealed handguns to bring their weapons into campus buildings is scheduled for a House vote on this day. The bill is HB 972. Importantly, the measure in its present ("Committee Substitute") form allows local institutions to opt out by following a stipulated procedure, including consultation with students, faculty, and staff. [...]

TCCTA supports the local or institutional option contained in HB 972, and members are urged to emphasize this important point to representatives now.

HB 972 will be subject to amendment from the floor, which could alter its provisions. A brief message supporting local or institutional control offers the most concise and effective faculty communication to House members.

Update: Here is the bill analysis.

Today, the Texas Senate passed SB 1907: Relating to the transportation and storage of concealed handguns and ammunition by students in vehicles on the campuses of institutions of higher education.

TCCTA: Guns-In-Locked-Cars Bill Advances

A bill has passed the Senate that would allow licensed carriers to keep their weapons in locked cars while on campus. [...] The bill is SB 1907 [...]

IMPORTANT: This bill in no way alters the message in the previous post regarding the "campus carry" bill that will be voted upon in the House on May 4. In fact, it underscores the need to inform members of the House regarding TCCTA's position: to allow local institutions to decide what to allow at their schools regarding firearms.

It seems to me that not only faculty at Texas institutions of higher education but also current and future students and their families might want to contact their legislators regarding these bills.

Op-Eds Urging NRA to Stop Blocking Sensible Gun Control Legislation

The National Rifle Association's 2013 national meeting, which begins tomorrow in Houston, has its usual fear-mongering agenda planned as it targets President Barack Obama's non-existent "gun ban agenda":
Join Wayne LaPierre, NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris Cox, and our nation's top Second Amendment leaders in government, the media, and the entertainment industry as we chart the course for defeating Barack Obama's gun ban agenda.
Here's a partial list of those who are scheduled to fear-monger speak: Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), former Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK), former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA), and Sean Hannity. Glenn Beck, John Bolton, Oliver North, and Ted Nugent, among others, will also be there to sell sign their books.  

Houston Chronicle: NRA lands in Houston
A strongly worded editorial reminds NRA members that the NRA's official position is at odds with that of the overwhelming majority of Americans as well as with its own members:

Here in Houston, an annual survey by a respected Rice University sociologist found recently that 90 percent of the citizenry supports universal background checks for gun buyers. That number reflects nationwide findings, as the NRA is well aware. Close to 90 percent of Americans and 74 percent of NRA members support background checks.[...]

Checking the backgrounds of potential gun purchasers is, we believe, the absolute minimum this country needs to help assure a safe and sane gun culture. We need a limit on high-capacity magazines, a ban on private ownership of weapons designed for the military, long-term studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other research groups on gun violence, a requirement that explosives include so-called taggants, tiny plastic markers used as traceable elements in dynamite and gunpowder. Incredibly, the NRA opposes the use of taggants. [...]

As the NRA descends on Houston this week, an increasing number of Americans are coming to believe, as we do, that an Arizona congresswoman, a Colorado theater-full of moviegoers, 20 achingly beautiful 6-year-olds in a Connecticut school - in addition to the 30,000 Americans who die every year at the hand of a gun - cannot be collateral damage to an organization's unyielding resistance to sensible gun regulation.


Houston Chronicle: NRA leadership should refocus its priorities by Mark Kelly
In an open letter to the NRA, former Houstonian Mark Kelly—husband of former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and retired astronaut—highlights why the NRA's leaders are so out-of-touch with its own members:

Like so many of you, we know that preventing dangerous people from getting guns doesn't affect our ability to buy or use our guns responsibly. And that's why the NRA leadership throws out a lot of doomsday scenarios, fear-mongering and yelling in order to distract people from a critical distinction: What most members of the NRA want from the organization and what the leadership is actually doing are not the same. [...]

The NRA's two best fundraising months of the past year came immediately following the shootings in Aurora, Colo., and Newtown, Conn. Guns fly off the shelves after tragedies because LaPierre and the gun manufacturers he represents exploit people's fears. In return, gun manufacturers gave LaPierre and the NRA tens of millions of dollars last year alone - and he spent almost $1 million of it on his own salary. Everyone in the gun lobby gets rich when the gun manufacturers sell the most guns.

And that's why LaPierre and the rest of the leadership of the NRA and other gun organizations are spending so much of their time wild-eyed, preaching possible government confiscations. It's because they don't want the membership to notice they've turned their backs on the very safety measures, like background checks, that the organization used to stand for - in exchange for cold hard cash.

See Meteor Blades's diary—In op-ed, Mark Kelley says new leaders needed at NRA, which meets this weekend in Houston—for more discussion of Kelly's piece.

Houston Chronicle: Protesters set sights on NRA meeting in Houston

protesters organized by the Occupy the NRA movement will read the names of 4,000 victims of gun violence since last December's Newtown mass-shootings, in which 20 children and six adults died. The readings start early Friday in Discovery Green across from the convention center and will continue virtually non-stop through two days and nights until the meeting ends on Sunday.

Also Friday, the Houston chapter of Moms Demand Action will kick off what it terms a "Signatures for Shame'' event in front of the Memorial-area office of Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas.

See xxdrzombiexx's diary Protesters gather as NRA prepares for meeting in Texas for further discussion.

Americans for Responsible Solutions lists several ways to take action. And you can also sign a petition from Daily Kos and Organizing for Action calling on Congress to hold another vote on expanded background checks for gun sales.


Battleground Texas
Burnt Orange Report
Equality Texas
Progress Texas
Texas Democratic Party
Texas Kaos
Who represents me? (Texas)

Originally posted to nomandates on Thu May 02, 2013 at 05:32 PM PDT.

Also republished by Houston Area Kossacks, Shut Down the NRA, Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA), and TexKos-Messing with Texas with Nothing but Love for Texans.

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