Gun debate a side note in hearings on Uvalde shooting
The first public hearings in Texas looking into the Uvalde school massacre have centered on law enforcement blunders, school building safety and mental health.
But there’s been only brief mentions of the shooter’s AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle and gun reform.
Only near the end of Wednesday’s hearing in the Texas Capitol was there much talk about gun laws, and it received little acknowledgement.
By week’s end, the U.S. Senate could pass new gun legislation. But in Texas the Republican-dominated committee examining the Uvalde tragedy has shown little appetite for new guns laws, even after a series of deadly mass shootings.
No one from Uvalde testified.
Unlocked doors were ‘first line of defense’ at Uvalde school
The Uvalde massacre began after the 18-year-old gunman entered the school through a door that could only be locked from the outside and then got inside a classroom that had a busted lock.
That’s according to experts who testified Tuesday before the Texas state Senate.
Securing doors has long been a focus of school safety drills, and experts said the inability to do so during the May 24 attack that left 19 children and two teachers dead is raising alarms among experts and politicians.
State Sen. Paul Bettencourt said unlockable doors make lockdowns and shooter training worthless, adding that there was “zero obstacle to the shooter.”
Dredging company to pay $1M for restoration work oil spill
A Houston dredging company has been ordered to pay a $1 million fine for an oil spill that occurred when a subcontractor cut through a pipeline during Louisiana barrier island restoration work in 2016.
A news release says Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company was sentenced last week for violating the Clean Water Act. The company pleaded guilty in June 2021.
As part of the plea, it said it violated state and federal laws by failing to alert pipeline companies about continuing work near their pipelines.
Subcontractor employee James Tassin pleaded guilty in a separate criminal case in March 2021. His sentencing is scheduled Aug. 16.
Scott: Texas GOP platform not ‘inclusive’ on homosexuality
Republican Sen. Rick Scott of Florida is criticizing the Texas GOP’s new party platform for not being “inclusive” when it described homosexuality as “an abnormal lifestyle choice.”
Scott, the chair of the GOP’s Senate elections committees, weighed in on the issue just days after GOP delegates in the country’s largest red state approved the new platform.
The platform also falsely claims that President Joe Biden is the “acting” commander-in-chief and that he was “not legitimately elected.”
Scott says his experience is that “the Republican Party is inclusive,” and he says he “wouldn’t have supported” the homophobic language in the platform.
Man who illegally imported/exported live scorpions sentenced
An Oregon man who illegally imported and exported hundreds of live scorpions was sentenced in federal court for violating the Lacey Act.
U.S. Attorney Scott Erik Asphaug of the District of Oregon said Darren Drake was sentenced Wednesday to two years’ federal probation, 250 hours of community service, and a $5,000 fine.
Court documents say in 2017 and 2018, Drake imported and exported scorpions to Germany without an import-export license from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. One intercepted parcel was falsely labeled as chocolates.
Drake also illegally mailed or received several hundred live scorpions from other U.S. states, including Michigan and Texas. Drake pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the Lacey Act.
For more news and weather from ABC13, join us for Eyewitness News at 9 here on CW39.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.