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On Our Minds is the name of KERA's mental health news initiative. The station began focusing on the issue in 2013, after the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Coverage is funded in part by the Donna Wilhelm Family Fund and Cigna.

In Texas, You Can Now Bring Guns Inside State-Run Mental Health Hospitals

Arina P Habich

Five stories that have North Texas talking: guns in psychiatric hospitals; no one won the huge Powerball lotto; Ted Cruz suggests Hillary Clinton should be spanked; and more.

You can openly carry guns into state-run mental health hospitals across Texas. USA Today reports: “Visitors to one of Texas' 10 state mental health hospitals will be allowed to openly carry weapons into the facilities, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. Employees and patients will still be barred from bringing in weapons. The hospitals [recently] pulled down signs banning guns at its facilities and posted new ones asking people to leave their firearms in their cars or conceal them from patients, said Carrie Williams, a state health department spokeswoman.” Patients are being treated for psychiatric conditions and it’s “not best to expose them to weapons of any kind,” the spokeswoman said in a statement. The Dallas Morning News notes a 2003 law "already made clear that gun license holders are generally allowed to carry on property owned or leased by the state or by local governments." Here’s more from the Austin American-Statesman. Meanwhile, Texas’ open carry gun law went into effect Jan. 1 – here’s what you should know about the new law. And a Texas lawmaker wants folks to be able to carry guns into all hospitals.

  • A gun rights supporter sounds off about Texas gun laws and President Obama’s executive orders. “In the wake of President Obama's efforts to take on gun violence, the head of the group Open Carry Texas told KERA News that the president ‘wants to make sure that more kids die by refusing to allow us to carry on the schools to protect our own kids.’ In a wide-ranging interview, C.J. Grisham talked about the president's proposal, the arrival of open carry in Texas and campus carry, which allows license-holders to carry concealed weapons on public university campuses starting in August.” Learn more here.

  • We’re all lotto losers. No one won the $950 million Powerball jackpot over the weekend. NPR reports: “For those playing to win the biggest jackpot in U.S. lottery history, the only numbers possibly more important than the now nearly $950 million prize were announced Saturday night. The winning numbers for the Powerball drawing were: 16-19-32-34-57, with the Powerball number, 13.” That means Wednesday night’s jackpot will grow to over $1 billion – perhaps $1.3 billion.

  • Ted Cruz suggested Hillary Clinton needs to be spanked. The Texas Tribune reports: “Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz on Friday suggested Hillary Clinton, the Democratic frontrunner, should get a "spanking" for her response to the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attacks. Responding to an audience member, Cruz said there are still unanswered questions about what the former secretary of state knew about the attacks, which killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans. …  ‘In America the voters have a way of administering a spanking, and I can tell you this: As president ... there will be accountability for Benghazi,’” Cruz said. Read more here.

  • A millionaire who has been trying to sell his mansion has taken it off the market and letting tornado victims live there. KXAS-TV (NBC 5) reports: “A Garland family whose home was destroyed in the EF4 tornado is moving into a Colleyville mansion Friday, thanks to the generosity of a millionaire stranger who saw NBC 5's storm coverage and wanted to do something to help. Ron Sturgeon is a junkyard-owner-turned-commercial-real-estate-investor who's made millions over his career.” Sturgeon told the station that his dad died when he was in high school; he’s been homeless, too, and lived in a mobile home. 
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.