guns | KERA News


Lauren Silverman / KERA News

Meet the newest weapon in the Dallas police arsenal: the sponge gun. It launches a hardened foam projectile and gives officers an alternative to shooting a gun with bullets. 

There is a pistol-packing revolution going on in America. Nearly 13 million Americans have permits to carry concealed handguns — triple the number just nine years ago — and that figure is low because not every state reports.

Ray's Sporting Goods in Dallas' Oak Cliff is a neighborhood firearm dreamland.

It's stocked with the latest pistols, shotguns and AR-15 military-style rifles. Chuck Payne, the store's manager, says he has sold to a lot more women recently.

"A lot of married ladies with their husbands, some without, but they've decided that their husband's not home, they need to be able to do something and they need a different gun than what their husband had," Payne says.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

It’s been a few weeks since the open carry law took effect in Texas. But many women still prefer to keep their guns concealed – and there is a growing accessory industry to feed their gun fashion needs.

Transportation Security Administration

A record number of airline passengers were caught last year trying to take guns on planes, and most of the weapons were loaded, federal officials say.

Courtney Collins / KERA news

More than 50,000 people from across the globe are streaming into the Dallas Convention Center. It’s the granddaddy of all outdoor expos: the Dallas Safari Club’s annual convention. 

From Texas Standard:

Tonight, President Barack Obama will speak and take questions at a televised town hall hosted by CNN.

The topic? Guns – specifically, the administration's new executive orders on gun control.


From Texas Standard:

After the Sandy Hook shooting, President Obama and his colleagues in Congress pushed to close what they call a loophole in background checks. They were not successful. The word loophole, it should be noted, is a political term, primarily used by advocates of gun control who say there's a gap in the law when it comes to the sale or transfer of guns between private citizens.

Under existing law, anyone who's in the business of buying or selling guns is supposed to have a federal firearms license. If you have a federal firearms license, then you have to have to run a background check on any gun transfer. But at gun shows, not everyone selling guns is in the regular business of selling them, and not all sellers have to run background checks. Neither do people selling online.


From Texas Standard:

A group made up of professors, and a few others, rallied behind their common goal of a gun-free UT on Monday at the University of Texas at Austin. This pushback against a state campus carry law passed last session has been building for months. The new law is set to take effect next year.

The protesters' message was loud and clear: ban guns or we could sue. Law professor Ken Williams from South Texas College of Law in Houston says their main claim will center around how universities will ensure a safe environment for both students and faculty.



William McRaven took over as chancellor of the UT System at the beginning of 2015. Already he's had to navigate major changes in how the statewide system operates, and form new plans to accommodate the new campus carry law that goes into effect for the fall 2016 semester.

Study Says Concealed Carry Permits Don't Affect Crime

Sep 25, 2015
Texas Tribune

Supporters insist that allowing people to legally carry concealed handguns reduces crime, but that has not been the result in at least four states that have tried it, including Texas, according to a newly published academic study led by a Texas A&M researcher.

Philip Lange /

Texas-based Whataburger is asking customers not to openly carry guns in its restaurants.

Texas House Approves Open Carry Of Handguns

Apr 20, 2015
Texas Tribune

After turning back last-minute attempts to let city voters opt out, the Texas House gave final approval Monday to legislation allowing gun owners with concealed weapons licenses to carry their side arms openly.

Open Carry Wins Initial Approval In Texas House

Apr 20, 2015
Bob Daemmrich / Texas Tribune

Texas is well on its way to allowing the open carry of handguns in public places after House lawmakers took an initial step to approve it Friday.

Courtesy of Stephen Burgher

This story is the first in KERA's series on veterans, part of the public media initiative "Veterans Coming Home."

One of the first things Dr. Stephen Burgher had to get used to as an emergency physician in Afghanistan was treating blast injuries.

Jennifer Whitney / Texas Tribune

Target has joined the growing list of stores asking customers to leave their guns at home. The retailer’s move this week comes after pictures circulated online of gun rights supporters bringing semiautomatic rifles into stores in North Texas and elsewhere.  

Moms Demand Action

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Target joins the list of companies asking customers to leave guns at home; the North Texas college student on an African animal hunt faces more criticism; Dallas County gets ready to welcome 2,000 immigrant children; and more.

YouTube/Donna Campbell campaign

This political primary season has seen an unprecedented use of guns to get votes. Republican hopefuls across the country are appearing in political ads firing guns and holding political events around firearms.

This political primary season has seen an unprecedented use of guns to get votes. Republican hopefuls across the country are appearing in political ads firing guns and holding political events around firearms.

Shelley Kofler / KERA News

In Texas, it’s generally assumed Republicans get the gun vote. But there’s a group of Democrats who are hoping to turn that around at the state convention in Dallas this weekend. Gun owners want to make sure the Democrats’ state platform doesn’t shoot the party in the foot.

Brinker International

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Chili’s reviews its gun policy; North Texas isn’t that fit; a North Texas student advances to the semifinals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee; and more.

Ken Wolter/Shutterstock /

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Chipotle focuses on burritos, not guns; North Texas is a dangerous place for pedestrians; take a journey up Interstate 35; and more:

Texas Republicans can't get hold of enough guns.

Greg Abbott, the party's front-runner for governor, posed for a recent cover of Texas Monthly with a rifle over his shoulder. Nearly every other GOP statewide candidate has put out pictures or videos proudly displaying firearms.

Texas gets a failing grade when it comes to passing gun legislation aimed at preventing violence, according a new study by two gun regulation groups.

Irving Police

A 36-year-old man from Dallas has been charged with negligent homicide after his gun went off and the bullet killed a woman in the motel room next door.

Chief Miller worries teachers with just a few weeks of weapons training is too little for safety and security, especially when full time officers receive updated training on a regular basis. McKinney's superintendent also worries that teachers with weapons could be confusing and dangerous to police arriving at an active weapons call on a campus.

Older men are at high risk of suicide, and they're far more likely to kill themselves if they have access to firearms.

Doctors should ask relatives of older people with depression or cognitive problems if there are guns in the home, much as they might ask about whether it's time to take away the car keys, an academic paper says.

Office of Texas Attorney General

One of the bills awaiting Gov. Perry’s signature, House Bill 1009, would allow trained school employees to use firearms to respond to threats.

Texas House of Representatives

State Rep.Dan Branch says he’ll decide whether to run for attorney general at the end of the legislative session in May.

Right now the six-term lawmaker has his hands full as Chairman of the House Higher Education Committee.

In today’s “Capitol Closeup,” the Dallas Republican talks to KERA’s Shelley Kofler about changes he’s proposing for colleges and universities, and one proposal that would hit where it hurts if they don’t produce better results.

Marlith /

School districts and state lawmakers are talking school security after the Newtown, Connecticut shootings.  Discussions include arming teachers, putting more police in schools, and how to pay for stepped up campus security.