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Despite Austin shooting and concerns from law enforcement, permitless carry law could survive Texas Legislature session
After years of lobbying by gun rights activists, Texas House members overwhelmingly approved a bill last week that would allow handguns to be carried without a permit. It then moved to the more conservative Senate, but its chances of passage remained murky due to concerns from law enforcement and some Republican lawmakers.
As Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick attempted to sway his colleagues to support the bill, a former Travis County sheriff's deputy shot and killed three people—his ex-wife Amanda, her 17-year-old daughter Alyssa Broderick and Alyssa's 18-year-old boyfriend Willie Simmons III—in North Austin, prompting an hours-long shelter-in-place order and some local elected officials to decry the permitless carry proposal.
A March poll by the University of Texas-Tyler and the Dallas Morning News found that 64% of Texas voters oppose changing the state's permitting requirement, including a majority of both Republican and gun-owning respondents.
The Texas Police Chiefs Association and some local unions have also spoken out against permitless carry, which would eliminate training requirements, including basic safety instruction. "I think Texas gun laws are lax enough now that law enforcement probably has to approach every situation like people are armed," said Switzer, Texas Gun Sense executive director.
Despite these concerns, permitless carry could still become state law. Patrick created a new Senate Committee on Constitutional Issues, which is chaired by State Sen. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown. He announced in a tweet on Friday that the committee will hear the permitless carry bill approved by the house next week.
I am proud to chair the newly created Senate Committee on Constitutional Issues and look forward to hearing this bill next week so we can pass #ConstitutionalCarry this session! #txlege pic.twitter.com/Vo52auMrOP
— Charles Schwertner (@DrSchwertner) April 23, 2021
Melanie Greene, lead volunteer for the Moms Demand Action Austin group, said state lawmakers are likely motivated to pursue such legislation because of a small, vocal minority of gun rights activists and the threat of drawing even more conservative opponents in primary elections. Although they may be impervious to the recent triple homicide, others are not. "These mass shootings tend to galvanize interest in this topic," she said. "We see many more people signing up for our meetings or reaching out to us after a mass shooting."
Local officials are also taking action.
Austin City Council approved a resolution Thursday directing the city manager to accelerate local efforts to combat gun violence. Members also called on state and federal officials to address gun violence through "common-sense legislation," such as universal background checks, red flag laws and licensing requirements.
"Common-sense gun violence protection is both possible and necessary," District 10 Council Member Alison Alter, who sponsored the ordinance and in whose district the shooting occurred, said in a statement Thursday. "We all know that prayers are not enough."
Council Member Leslie Pool added: "Words cannot describe the frustration we feel to have lost three of our community members to gun violence—while the Texas Legislature doubles down on policies that will cause more loss of life with permitless gun carry bills."
In addition to addressing gun restrictions, local officials are focused on reducing violent gun crime, which is on the rise in Austin and across the country. The Austin Police Department launched a gun crime prevention program in partnership with the Travis County District Attorney's Office last Friday, which aims to increase prosecution of violent offenses by tracking gun crime trends more closely and referring cases to federal law enforcement where appropriate.
After last week's triple homicide, there have been 26 homicides in Austin so far this year, compared to 16 this time last year and 10 in late April of 2019. "I won't say it's unprecedented, but it's very, very concerning," Interim Police Chief Joe Chacon said during a press conference last Friday. "We haven't seen these types of homicide waves since the '90s."
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A week after Texas added two congressional seats and California lost one, state officials reported a population decline in 2020 for the first time in the Golden State's history.
California fell by over 182,000 people from January 2020 to January 2021, dropping almost 0.5% to cap out at around 39.5 million people. It is still the nation's most populous state.
For over thirty years, California has seen more people leave than move in from other states, state officials said, with 6.1 million people moving out and 4.9 million coming in last year. Immigration and births kept California growing, but the state saw a shrink in international migration in 2020 due to COVID and the White House's hold on visas.
Of the steady flow of ex-Californians moving to other states, more are moving to Texas than any other state. Many are relocating to Austin, which has been labeled a "little California" by billionaire resident Elon Musk and continues to grow astronomically.
Meanwhile, California cities including Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose and San Francisco saw a population decline.
With immigration and state migration on the decline, the Golden State was also hit with a spike in deaths- 51,000 people died from COVID in 2020, and all but seven of the state's counties saw death rates higher than the three-year average.
Still, the California Department of Finance said a "slightly positive annual growth" can be expected next year as the state recovers from COVID deaths and political repercussions.
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The sun is out, and thousands of Austin FC fans will be as well as Austin FC goes to Kansas to play Sporting Kansas City at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday.
There's plenty of pub partners to choose from, but here's a few watch parties to help you get in on the action.
Los Verdes watch party at Hopsquad Brewing, 2307 Kramer Lane
Fun fact: @LosVerdesATX brings sleeping bags and they basically live in the grain room between games. They'll emerge from time to time for a cup of coffee and to see if the #verde keeper kit has been released. pic.twitter.com/6HKUEHUFWY— Hopsquad Brewing Co. (@HopsquadBrewing) May 3, 2021
Ol' faithful: Hopsquad Brewing is hosting its weekly watch party, complete with beer, food trucks and the possible release of a new michelada, in partnership with Austin FC fan club Los Verdes. Admission is free, but make sure to bring a lawn chair so you can watch from the brand-new LED screen.
Austin Anthem North at 601 Whitestone Blvd, Cedar Park
Live up North? Looking for a place to catch the match? Join Us this Sunday.— Austin Anthem (@AustinAnthem) May 7, 2021
⚽ #AustinFC 🆚 #SportingKC
🗓 Sun, 5/9. 6:30pm
🍺 $1 off pints with @AustinFC gear and #verde Beer
🌮 Van's Damn Tasty Tacos & Ronburguesas $6 Fried Tots pic.twitter.com/zHRp4H2MIQ
Austin Anthem's 1,000+ audience at watch parties have been legendary, but they're splitting the group into two this week. The North Watch party will be located at Whitestone Brewery, with $1 off discounts if you bring Austin Anthem's signature beer or wear Verde. Tater tots and tacos will be on the menu. RSVP here.
Austin Anthem East at Haymaker, 2301 Manor Road
This week’s beer-storming also brings #LosZanates back to where much of the #AustinFC supporter movement was formed: @HaymakerAustin.— Austin Anthem (@AustinAnthem) May 4, 2021
⚽ #AustinFC 🆚 #SportingKC
🗓 Sun, 5/9. 6:30pm
🐻 2310 Manor Rd
The #Verde watch parties for all of #Austin. Join us!https://t.co/EdiBruetIG pic.twitter.com/7NYsEFLxCf
Austin Anthem is returning to its roots at Haymaker Austin, where much of the group originated. Beer, sandwiches and more will be on the menu for all of East Austin. RSVP here.
Head to a bar near you
If none of these watch parties are quite the right fit for you, 31 bars will be streaming the match in the Austin metro as part of the Austin FC Pub Club.
- Austin Eastciders- Barton Springs, 1530 Barton Springs Rd.
- Austin Eastciders- Collaboratory 979 Springdale Rd. Suite 130
- B.D. Riley's Mueller, 1905 Aldrich St. Unit 130
- The Bon Aire, 9070 Research Blvd
- Bouldin Acres, 2027 S Lamar Blvd
- Casa Chapala, 9041 Research Blvd Suite 100
- The Cavalier, 2400 Webberville Rd Unit A
- Cover 2,13701 N Highway 183
- Cover 3 Anderson Lane, 2700 W Anderson Ln Unit 202
- Happy Chicks, 214 E 6th St.
- Haymaker, 2310 Manor Rd.
- High Five- Anderson Ln, 2700 W Anderson Ln Unit 101
- Local Post Pub, 7113 Burnet Rd
- Pelons, 802 Red River St
- Play on 6th, 620 W 6th St
- Pluckers, various locations
- Revelry On The Boulevard, 6215 N Lamar Blvd
- Revelry- East 6th, 1410 E 6th St
- Rusty Cannon Pub, 730 W Stassney Ln Unit 120
- San Jac Saloon, 300 E 6th Street
- Shiner's Saloon, 422 Congress Ave Unit D
- Shooters Billiards 620, 11416 N FM 620
- Taco Flats, mulitple locations
- Twin Peaks, 701 E Stassney Ln
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