Election 2016

Orlando Shootings Cast Shadow Over Texas Democratic Convention

Sunday’s mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando has cast a long shadow over the Texas Democratic Convention in San Antonio.

Gun owners caucus meeting at Tx Dem Convention
Gun owners caucus meeting at the 2016 Texas Democratic Convention

The Texas Gun Owners Caucus met on the fourth floor of the Alamodome, just as the convention got underway Friday morning. One speaker after another took the microphone to argue for restrictions on the sale of assault weapons.

Houston Public Media's Coverage of Election 2016

Houston Public Media's Coverage of Election 2016

Rodger Isom is a retired high school history teacher from Burleson, near Fort Worth. A licensed gun owner. When he carries a gun, his weapon of choice is a simple six-shot revolver.

“I have five rounds in it, and I keep the hammer on an empty cylinder, in case I drop it or something goes wrong, it won’t fire,” he says. “The point is if I can’t stop somebody in five rounds, and I’m a good shot, something went horribly wrong. The only reason I would ever need more than five rounds is if I decided to kill a club full of people.”

The idea of banning people on a terrorist watch list from purchasing firearms, has drawn a lot of attention since the Orlando shootings. Connecticut Senator Christopher Murphy led a 14 hour filibuster to press the Senate to consider “no fly, no buy” legislation.

Isom is skeptical about what good it would do to pass such a bill.

“The key to all of this is that due process of law needs to be followed,” Isom says. “I grew up in the ‘60s, and everybody was on somebody’s watch list back in those days, and you really don’t want to do that again.”

Stonewall_LGBTQ Caucus
Stonewall/LGBTQ Caucus at the 2016 Texas Democratic Convention

Lane Lewis is chair of the Harris County Democratic Party. I caught up with him on the expo floor, just after he addressed the Stonewall/ LGBTQ Caucus.

“What happened in Orlando… it was not just about gun violence and the need for gun safety,” Lewis says. “It was not just about hate speech and bigotry towards LGBT people. It was not just about religious fanaticism, but it’s about how all of these things work together to create a climate that for some find it to be condonable.”

That was very much the theme of speakers at the Stonewall/LGBTQ Caucus meeting, particularly elected officials and candidates running for office.

Kim Ogg, Democratic candidate for Harris County District Attorney
Kim Ogg, Democratic candidate for Harris County District Attorney

Kim Ogg is the Democratic candidate for Harris County District Attorney.

“When somebody is targeted for a crime, simply because of who they are — their race, their religion, their country of origin, their age – it has a greater impact on society than just the damage done to the single victim. It makes others of their class fearful.”

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media’s coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments across Greater Houston. Before taking up his current post, Andrew spent five years as Houston Public Media’s business reporter, covering the oil...

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