Vox Sentences: Texas’s answer to shootings: more guns

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Despite the recent mass shooting in El Paso, Texas is still on track to loosen firearm laws in September; Italy’s government veers toward collapse.


Texas set to loosen gun control laws in September

Spencer Platt/Getty Images
  • Despite the recent shooting at an El Paso Walmart that killed 22 people, Texas is on track to loosen firearm laws next month. [Texas Tribune / Riane Roldan, Texas Tribune, and Alain Stephens, the Trace]
  • A series of laws protecting gun owners’ right to carry arms will go into effect on September 1. These laws had originally passed the Texas legislature last session, which ended in June, and were signed by the governor shortly after. [USA Today / Joshua Bote]
  • Here are some of the key laws: Licensed gun owners can keep firearms in a locked car in a school parking lot; some foster homes are now allowed to keep firearms; landlords cannot prohibit occupants from owning a firearm; and handguns are allowed in places of worship. [CNN / Allen Kim and Faith Karimi]
  • A snapshot of gun ownership in Texas: During fiscal year 2018, the state’s Department of Public Safety issued 351,701 gun licenses, while only 2,043 were denied, and 4,761 were suspended or revoked during the same period. There are nearly 1.4 million holders of active firearm licenses in the state. [Rivard Report / Shari Biediger]
  • Some Texas Democrats are calling for the governor to convene a special session to address gun control laws following the El Paso shooting. Experts, however, think it’s unlikely that the legislature will reconvene until their next regular session in January 2021. [NYT / Mitch Smith and David Montgomery]
  • The reality is that Texas has a history of responding to mass shootings with looser gun laws. As an example, nearly two years after a mass shooting in a San Antonio church killed 26 people, a law that reaffirms the right to bring firearms into a place of worship will go into effect next month. [Guardian / Tom Dart]
  • The best hope for reining in gun laws in Texas is if a federal law is enacted. Yet even that seems unlikely since Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said gun control laws won’t even be discussed until after Senate recess. [CBS News / Grace Segers]

Italy’s government is on the brink of collapse

  • Italy’s government is in limbo as Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini seeks to form a more right-wing administration. [BBC]
  • Salvini called for snap elections, saying that the coalition his anti-immigration, populist Lega Nord party (LN) formed with the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) is now unworkable. [CNBC / Silvia Amaro]
  • The unconventional government was formed in 2018, when no political group won an outright majority. LN and M5S, which both have an anti-establishment background, banded together to form a coalition, but it’s been a bumpy road ever since. [France 24]
  • The latest disagreement was the final straw for Salvini: LN wants to build an 8.5-billion-euro high-speed rail link between Italy and France because it would create jobs. M5S bitterly opposes it for environmental and financial reasons. [NYT / Anna Momigliano]
  • In frustration, Salvini wants to take full control of the government and is calling for a new election. It’s expected that if he doesn’t win the majority, he will form a coalition with the Brothers of Italy, a party with neo-fascist roots that could help Salvini create a far-right government. [Guardian / Angela Giuffrida]
  • Salvini’s party currently polls at 38 percent while M5S lingers at 17 percent. It’s unsure if Salvini will get his way, though, because lawmakers are in summer recess and the prime minister is demanding a better reason to justify the snap election. [Deutsche Welle]
  • Still, Salvini’s move points to the political turmoil that is straining the country’s economy and stymying relief for Italians after the European financial crisis. The country’s debt remains at 2 trillion euros and the economy hasn’t expanded in a decade — and there is no sign of stability in the near future. [NYT / Peter S. Goodman]

Miscellaneous

  • The EPA has reauthorized the use of “cyanide bombs” to kill wild animals. Environmentalists say that the method is inhumane and could harm humans in the process. [The Hill / Brooke Seipel]
  • A Cambodian man was trapped between two rocks for four days before being rescued. The process took 10 hours and involved 200 rescuers. [BBC]
  • An older couple from Washington state were found dead in an apparent murder-suicide. Police found several notes saying the couple did not have the resources to pay their medical bills. [NBC News / Ben Kesslen]
  • The Goliath frog, the world’s largest frog species, can grow up to 13 inches and weigh 6.6 pounds. New research shows that the frogs are also capable of moving rocks more than half their weight to build a home for their offspring. [CNN / Amy Woodyatt]
  • Would you dare to drink vodka from Chernobyl? Scientists say that “Atomik,” a vodka they created from grain and water gathered near the nuclear disaster site, is totally free of toxic radiation (though it was for experimental purposes; don’t expect to find it in stores anytime soon). [NYT / Palko Karasz]

Verbatim

“The only way that we can stop violence is to answer with greater violence. It’s not something that I like to say. I’m not saying it with a smile on my face.” [Jeff Sanford, a general manager of a Texan shooting range and gun shop, on firearms]


Watch this: Why so many suburbs look the same

So many suburbs have similar plans. Why? [YouTube / Phil Edwards]


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