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East Texas Police Chief Urges Residents To Get Guns And Arm Themselves

Five stories that have North Texas talking: a small-town police chief tells residents to apply for gun permits; more efforts to keep refugees out of the U.S.; Ted Cruz talks about refugees and Donald Trump; and more.

The police chief of a small East Texas town urges all citizens to arm themselves, saying the federal government lacks any effective plan for fighting terrorism. In a video he posted Monday night to his personal Facebook page, Hughes Springs Police Chief Randy Kennedy said listening to President Barack Obama's Oval Office speech on terrorism left him in despair over the government's ability to fight domestic terrorism. He urged all law-abiding citizens to apply for concealed handgun permits and stand ready to support any fight against terrorists that might overwhelm the four full-time officers and one part-timer in a town of about 1,800 residents in Cass County, home to about 30,000 residents. Cass County Sheriff Larry Rowe told the Longview News-Journal that he endorses Kennedy's thoughts on an armed citizenry. [Associated Press]

  • U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz talks about refugees, Donald Trump and more. His interview with NPR’s Morning Edition aired this morning: “Cruz doesn't want to ‘get down in the mud and engage in personal insults and attacks’ — one reason he has declined to criticize Donald Trump more directly in the wake of Trump's plan to ban all Muslims from entering the U.S. … The GOP presidential candidate explained his own plan to slow immigration from some Muslim countries. ‘The first obligation [of the president] is to keep this country safe, and so I've introduced legislation that would suspend for three years refugees from countries where ISIS or al-Qaida control a substantial amount of territory,’ Cruz said.” Learn more here. [NPR]

Listen to the interview:

  • There are more efforts to try to keep certain refugees out of the U.S. The Texas Tribune reports: “Gov. Greg Abbott and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas teamed up Tuesday to push new curbs on Syrian refugees entering the United States, with Cruz unveiling a new bill that would let states "opt out" of accepting some refugees. … The new legislation, known as the State Refugee Security Act, would let a governor reject the resettlement of a refugee in his or her state "unless there is adequate assurance that the refugee does not present a security risk," according to Cruz's office. Abbott is among more than 30 chief state executives who have refused to accept Syrian refugees following the recent Paris attacks, citing concerns about the United States' ability to vet the refugees for potential terrorists.” [Texas Tribune]

  • There’s a debate over elephants in Dallas. KERA’s Stephanie Kuo reports: “The Dallas Zoo is among three American zoos looking to import 18 elephants that are in danger in Swaziland, a country in southern Africa. As they wait for approval from the federal government, animal rights activists are speaking out against the move. … [The three zoos are] waiting for permits from U.S. Fish and Wildlife to import the 18 elephants, as part of a project overseen by a group called Room For Rhinos. The elephants have been removed from two privately managed parks in Swaziland. Officials there say the elephants are overcrowding and depleting resources needed by endangered black and white rhinos. … A global community of scientists, conservationists and welfare experts are trying to block the import and keep the elephants in the wild, where they say they belong.” [KERA]

  • A public radio legend plans to retire. NPR reports: “Ending a run of more than 30 years on the air, talk show host Diane Rehm plans to retire, according to WAMU, the NPR member station where the show is produced in Washington, D.C. Rehm's exit from the show will not take place immediately; she is expected to remain as its host through the 2016 presidential election. A date for her exit has not been established.” The first hour of The Diane Rehm Show airs at 9 a.m. weekdays on KERA 90.1 – the second hour airs at 8 p.m.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Eric Aasen is KERA’s managing editor. He helps lead the station's news department, including radio and digital reporters, producers and newscasters. He also oversees, the station’s news website, and manages the station's digital news projects. He reports and writes stories for the website and contributes pieces to KERA radio. He's discussed breaking news live on various public radio programs, including The Takeaway, Here & Now and Texas Standard, as well as radio and TV programs in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.