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Tribal advocates keep up legal pressure for fair political maps; 12-member jury sworn in for Trump's historic criminal trial; the importance of healthcare decision planning; and a debt dilemma: poll shows how many people wrestle with college costs.

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Civil rights activists say a court ruling could end the right to protest in three southern states, a federal judge lets January 6th lawsuits proceed against former President Trump, and police arrest dozens at a Columbia University Gaza protest.

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Texas town calls off rifle raffle after newspaper questions legality

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Friday, December 15, 2023   

Mass shootings across the U.S. have many calling for more gun restrictions.

But it wasn't until a Texas newspaper raised legal questions about a fundraiser a local police association canceled its holiday raffle for an assault weapon.

Jordan Buckley, publisher of the Caldwell/Hays Examiner, said the Police Association of Lockhart held the same raffle last year. His reporting found the group had only been a 501(c)3 nonprofit for two years, one year shy of being able to legally sponsor a raffle, according to state law.

He acknowledged some in the community were unhappy with the newspaper's sleuthing.

"We merely pointed out the fact that law enforcement was breaking the law," Buckley explained. "That's not a great brand. And in this case, raffling off weapons that kill lots of people, to be able to provide toys for kids for Christmas, it just seems ridiculous."

Following the Examiner's reporting, the Police Association of Lockhart announced it had canceled the raffle.

According to the Violence Policy Center, the Smith & Wesson M&P 15 -- which was the top prize -- was used in the mass shootings at Colorado's Parkland High School and in San Bernardino, California.

Buckley pointed out he supports holiday fundraisers, but feels a local police association in a small community like Lockhart should find more appropriate prizes.

"We've seen it before, elsewhere, where police are just tone-deaf to this cultural moment," Buckley contended. "And the horror that so many people confront when it comes to these weapons that are used for mass killing."

According to the Giffords Law Center, Texas has no law restricting assault weapons. As a result, researchers have found Texas is the leading source of weapons trafficked into Mexico; more than nearly every other state combined.


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