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Texas House passes bill allowing handgun owners to carry weapons in church

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More than a year after a gunman killed 26 in a Sutherland Springs church, the Texas House gave preliminary approval Monday to a bill that would allow licensed handgun owners to legally carry their weapons in places of worship.

The legislation — Senate Bill 535 by Republican state Sen. Donna Campbell of New Braunfels — strikes a provision in current law that says handguns aren’t allowed in “churches, synagogues, or other places of worship.”

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To be clear, churches would still be able to prohibit licensed citizens from carrying firearms on their premises so long as they provide oral or written notice.

Campbell’s bill codifies a previous opinion from Attorney General Ken Paxton sought shortly after the shooting in Sutherland Springs. In the opinion, Paxton stated that “unless a church provides effective oral or written notice prohibiting the carrying of handguns on its property, a license holder may carry a handgun onto the premises of church property as the law allows.”

“The existing statute is confusing and clunky and has kept law-abiding Texans from exercising their second [amendment] rights where those with evil intentions have tragically targeted innocent lives,” Campbell said in an emailed statement to The Texas Tribune. “This bill provides clarity of the Legislature’s intent to treat churches and houses of worship in the same manner as other privately owned establishments in Texas.”

Many lawmakers said such a measure was needed in Texas after the 2016 shooting in Sutherland Springs, a small town of about 650. In late 2017, morning services at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, a tiny town about 30 miles southeast of San Antonio, became the scene of a massacre after a lone gunman killed more than two dozen people and injured many more in the deadliest shooting at a place of worship in American history.

The Senate has already approved Campbell’s bill. Once the House grants final approval, the bill can be sent to the governor.

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‘I’m totally sane!’ Trump supporters howl in rage after Star Wars actress Daisy Ridley calls them out

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"Star Wars" actress Daisy Ridley doesn't believe anyone can be both sane and a Donald Trump supporter.

The 27-year-old British actress, who plays the lead role in the final three chapters of the iconic sci-fi franchise, expressed some of her political views recently in an interview with The Guardian.

"No, I don’t feel I have to edit what I say," Ridley told the newspaper. "The things that make me angry are the things that make everyone angry. Everyone is annoyed with BoJo (Boris Johnson). Everyone has an issue with Trump – every sane person, anyway.”

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Lindsey Graham explodes in anger demanding to know why FBI ‘didn’t tell Trump’ his campaign was under investigation

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Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham exploded in anger as he questioned Inspector General Michael Horowitz, demanding to know why the FBI did not notify then-candidate Donald Trump and his campaign in 2016 that they were the subjects of a counterintelligence investigation to determine how Russia was attacking the U.S. and if any members of the Trump campaign were involved.

Chairman Graham appeared to ignore all the signs that Donald Trump and his campaign may have been conspiring with Russia to win the 2016 presidential election, including Trump’s infamous “Russia, if you’re listening” remarks.

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DOJ inspector general ‘surprised’ after Bill Barr challenged his investigation’s conclusions

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Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz told the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday that he was surprised that Attorney General Bill Barr and U.S. Attorney John Durham have been publicly challenging the conclusions of his lengthy investigation into the origins of the FBI's probe into contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian agents.

When asked by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) to comment on Barr and Durham's remarks on his investigation, Horowitz said he saw no basis for them to challenge his findings.

"I was surprised by the statement," he said. "I didn't necessarily know it was going to be released on Monday. We did meet with Mr. Durham, as I mentioned... We did discuss the opening issue. He said he did not necessarily agree with our conclusion about the opening of a full counterintelligence investigation, which is what this was."

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