How do California and Texas gun laws compare?
S1: I'm Maureen CAVANAUGH. This is KPBS Midday Edition. Top Gun maverick is just Hollywood's latest military recruitment tool.
S2: People are going to see it.
S3: And it is the Navy culture and it's a celebration of the Navy.
S2: It's a celebration of aviation.
S3: It's a celebration of the.
S2: Spirit , I think.
S3: Of our country.
S1: Arts , opera , the symphony and rock climbing all coming up on our weekend preview. That's ahead on Midday Edition. Before even the names of the victims of the school shooting in Oval de Texas were known. Texas Governor Greg Abbott was dismissing calls to re-examine the state's loose gun laws. He says the issue is not access to guns but mental health. Meanwhile , here in California , Governor Newsom and state lawmakers gathered to announce new legislation to tighten gun sales and allow citizens to sue illegal gun sellers. To discuss just how different gun laws are between California and Texas. Reporter John Woolfolk of the San Jose Mercury News joins us and he reviewed both states laws in a recent report. John , welcome.
S2: All right.
S1: So these two states are almost polar opposites when it comes to gun laws. In recent years , Texas seems to have doubled down on allowing access to weapons.
S2: And they range from what is known as constitutional carry , which basically means you can carry a firearm in public without any special licensing. They barred local governments from banning gun sales in emergencies , disasters , you know , hurricanes and things like that. They legalized silencers. They're called suppressors in the industry , but they make the gunfire not as loud. It's still loud , but not as loud. And they also I think one of them allowed hotel guests to keep their guns in their rooms. And they even passed one that declared the Lone Star State a Second Amendment sanctuary state , which , as I understand it , the way the governor described it in his press release. It protects Texans from new federal gun control regulations.
S1: Well , California has created recent laws about guns , but they are very different.
S2: There are similar guns that are functionally you know , they operate in much the same way you can fire one round for a trigger pull until the magazine is empty. But California limits the magazine that holds the rounds of ammunition to ten. And that's not the case in Texas. So he would have had to have a gun that didn't have a pistol grip on it. That makes it a little easier to shoot from the hip. And he wouldn't have had a large capacity magazines. He would have had to reload more often. Would that make a difference ? I don't know. But he couldn't have bought that particular gun. And importantly , he also couldn't have bought it at age 18 in California. California , after the Parkland shooting in Florida , along with Florida , raised the age to purchase a rifle or a shotgun to 21 from 18. But it's still 18 in Texas. And this young gunman evidently waited until his 18th birthday and then bought two of these rifles within days afterward.
S1: What are some of the other differences between the state's gun laws , Texas and California ? Yes , there are differences involving waiting periods and background checks.
S2: There are in California. A gun buyer can't take possession of his new weapon for ten days. Part of that was designed to allow for a sort of a cooling off , like if a person was suicidal or , you know , angry over a neighbor or something. And part of it was to allow time for a background check. Texas has no waiting period. Florida raised its waiting or imposed a waiting period of three days after the Parkland shooting.
S1: And there's also a red flag provision in California's gun laws that might have alerted authorities to someone like Texas schools shooter. Tell us about that.
S2: Yeah , California was a pioneer in this. There was a horrible incident in Santa Barbara in 2016 where a young man shot and killed some young women near the University of California there. And he had made all kinds of threatening behaviors and posted disturbing things as roommates. I think he killed a roommate or a friend of a roommate who had had complained , but they felt that they were helpless because he had actually broken a law and with a red flag law does is it lets family members. Is employers , co-workers , I think , and school personnel ask a judge to disarm a person , at least temporarily. The person does get a hearing in a court to argue that why you should be able to keep his guns. But it has been used in California in the years since pretty effectively and in a lot of cases that the police felt were instances where a disaster was about to unfold. I covered I wrote about this several years ago where there was a guard at a company providing security for one of the tech companies. And he had been fired by his boss and was mad and said some things that came across as threatening and that they got a red flag order and disarmed him. And he was later charged with making threats.
S1: However , even with all our gun restrictions here in California , there are still mass shootings here.
S2: In fact. And this very week , we marks the deadliest mass shooting in the Bay Area , which happened just a year ago at the VTA light rail yard at San Jose. You know , that was a case where there was a man who had been threatening to the point where a coworker even remarked one time to his supervisor that they thought he was going to go postal or something , but nobody actually really intervened to stop him. And he just snapped and came in and killed his coworkers , nine of them , and then himself. So the red flag laws , for instance , require somebody to see something and say something. They require somebody to act on a threat. It had been reported that he had been stopped by customs agents a few years earlier and they found some disturbing journal where he had described shooting up his workplace and it was never passed on. There are gaps in the system , but the data do show that the death rates are lower in the states with more of these restrictions. California's governor this week even noted that the gun death rate in California was 67% lower than the gun death rate in Texas for 2020. So , you know , the laws don't certainly stop everything , but it seems like it slows them down.
S1: I've been speaking with reporter John Woolfolk of the San Jose Mercury News. And , John , thank you so much.
S2: You're welcome. Thank you for having me.
S1: Faced with a tight job market , the Navy is banking that Top Gun maverick can help rescue naval aviation from a pilot shortage. 36 years after the original film broke recruiting records , KPBS military reporter Steve Walsh says it's part of a long relationship between Hollywood and the military.
S3: On a sunny day at a Navy base near San Diego , Tom Cruise was on message. People are going to see it. And it is the Navy culture and it's a celebration of the Navy. It's a celebration of aviation. It's a celebration of the spirit , I think , of our country. Tom Cruise was at Naval Air Station , North Island , for the premiere of Top Gun Maverick. Several scenes were shot at the base , surrounded by sailors in front of the base theater. Crews worked the red carpet. The megastar said he shares the Navy's high hopes for the long awaited sequel.
S4: That's great. And keep looking at me.
S3: Let's look at Eric. Paramount paid the Navy more than $5 million. Much of the money was spent to retrofit real F-18 Super Hornets with cameras. Real Navy pilots do the flying , putting actors and the audience in the cockpit. It's part of a long tradition of Hollywood working with the military. Nicole teaches media and history at USC.
S2: On the Pentagon side of things , they wanted to have the best of the U.S. military represented. And they knew that if filmmakers wanted to have tanks and aircraft carriers and aircraft featuring in their movies , they would be willing to concede.
S3: Certain aspects.
S2: Of creative input.
S3: Though it can be tough for the Pentagon to live up to the Hollywood hype , Cole says.
S2: Why can't we succeed in Iraq or Afghanistan ? The difficulties of operating in these kinds of situations are underestimated when we have these fantasies of exaggerated competence. You should be at least.
S5: A two star admiral by now. Yet here you are. Captain.
S2: I do think that the country knows that , that they're , you know , they're going to see a movie and , you know , they can they can make their own judgments.
S3: Bob Newell directs the Navy's program that works with the entertainment industry. He says the Navy reviews the script to see if it upholds the values of the service , realizing fewer people have a direct connection to the military that has started to wane.
S2: And so people don't have and communities don't have those connections that they used to. Everybody can't go out to an aircraft carrier , but everybody can go to a movie theater.
S3: And the Navy could use a hit right now. The original film is legendary among Navy recruiters driving up interest in naval aviation ten years after Vietnam. Captain Brian Ferguson was the Navy's technical advisor on the Top Gun sequel. Standing in front of an F-18 on North Island , he admits that he became a pilot after seeing the original film in the 1980s. Ferguson flies for both the reserves , as well as Delta Airlines. Commercial aviation always draws military pilots , and the competition for pilots , he says , is heating up.
S5: You have to retire at age 65. So you do the math. You get a lot of people that are falling off the cliff there. And the airlines , all of them did not necessarily plan in advance. And then COVID hit and a lot of people , you know , took early retirements and left. What we're left with now is a massive resurgence in travel demand and not enough people to to fill it for sure.
S3: Outside the premiere , a group of young sailors were waiting for the filmmakers. Some of them admitted they either hadn't seen the original or had watched it the night before. Seaman recruit Charles Poindexter used to watch the film with his dad as a kid.
S5: Oh , my dad. He was excited. I called him yesterday. He was like , Oh , man , you've got to go see Tom Cruise. I was like , Yeah , you know , it's like , Oh , that's my favorite actor. You know , I got to got to get some pictures. You had a whole lot of pictures. A whole lot of pictures. I was like , I got you. I got you , Pops.
S3: Whether at the box office or the recruiter's office. We'll know soon enough whether the franchise can handle one last mission. Steve Walsh , KPBS News.
S1: This is KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Maureen CAVANAUGH. On this weekend preview , you can find visual art from local Asian American Pacific Islander artists , a pairing of choreography and rock climbing , an experimental electronic music opera and some Beethoven. Joining me with all the details is KPBS arts editor and producer Julia Dixon Evans. And welcome , Julia.
S4: Hi , marin. Thanks for having me.
S1: Now , a new Asian-American Pacific Islander Heritage Month art exhibition opens Saturday. Tell us about Flourish. Right.
S4: Right. This is curated by Ed Harris Gallery at Pixies Oddities , which is a newish curiosity shop and tattoo studio in University Heights and Terrace , where the ones who put together a show during AAPI Heritage Month last year. That film is called Ghidorah Lives. This one is called Flourish , and it's a collection of works of art by 16 regional artists that are identifying as Asian American or Pacific Islander. Kamala Prudential curated the exhibition and she also has a collage and Risa Graff work in the show. Prudential told me that even though they didn't make it a themed exhibition when they were curating it , several through lines emerged , particularly ones that are critical to the AAPI community in the last few years.
S6: Flourishing is really about how we can transmute hate , this violence , this grief into something that can fertilize , like the grounds that we're trying to build upon. We've also got , which I always feel like is a theme in a lot of the shows that I curated is a lot of narrative around grandmothers because of the diaspora here and a lot of us being first and second generation Asian-American. A lot of our connections to where our family is from is through that generation.
S4: So some of the artists with work in the show are Colin Choi Kimsey. Caroline Ramos , TJ Santa Ana Tao. Wen French and Kim Sweeny. And tons more. And it opens on Saturday with a reception from 5 to 9 , and it'll be on view just through June 18th.
S1: Moving on , we have a world premiere of a brand new chamber opera about historical natural disasters. It's called Paradise TBD , presented by local chamber group Project Blank.
S4: It's by Clinton McCallum , who is based in Baltimore , but he did study at UC San Diego in their Department of Music , and he has such a broad background of musical styles electronic , punk , jazz , performance art , and he's drawn on all of that together in his previous compositions. And in this story , Paradise , TBD , it's about healing the traumatic aftermath of natural disasters spanning through long ago history to present day. Each of these five characters in the opera comes from a different natural disaster. So there's the 1985 earthquake in Mexico City , the Bengal famine in 1770 , Hurricane Katrina. There's a few of them. And these people are transported into the same time and space and stuck on a raft together. It also tackles how other more societally inflicted impacts like poverty , colonialism or climate change , how those things factor into the trauma of that disaster , too. There are three shows at Red and Salt this weekend , tonight and Saturday at 730 and Sunday at 3 p.m..
S1: All right. Here's an unusual pairing dance and rock climbing , which sounds positively dangerous. Julia , tell us about disco riots , event , Corio and Climb.
S4: So this is actually a continuation of a program they started right before the pandemic struck called Corio. And it's built around this idea of audience participation , but in surprising ways. So the first one they did was Corio and skate at a roller skating rink. The idea is to get audiences doing something with their bodies , something active and or creative , and it's peppered with contemporary dance performances that disco riots put together somewhat related to the theme and not happening while rock climbing. And for this one at the Grotto Climbing in yoga studio in Miramar , there will be bouldering. So audiences will get a brief lesson when they show up , and then there's some free climbing time. Then there are performances. There'll be more chances for the audience members to climb between the performances as well. I talked to Disco Riot artistic director Zakiya Mahler Salinas last month , and she said that each of the performers. SES are links not necessarily to the theme of climbing but to some of its contrasts.
S1: So some of the sort of inspiration for this particular iteration is like the juxtaposition of climbing. So what are some.
S4: Things that kind of like opposed climbing or juxtaposed climbing or , you know , things like falling or suspension or descending ? Those are some of the themes that the.
S1: Choreographers have been asked to work. With.
S4: With. There is going to be a duet for dancer and violin in the show , along with several pieces from Fresh Congress , Dance Company and more. It's Saturday at 5:00 at Grotto Climbing and Yoga in Miramar.
S1: And finally , the San Diego Symphony is wrapping up its current season with two performances at the show.
S4: And this is Rafael Parra conducting. And the symphony will be joined by the San Diego Master Chorale. They're going to be doing Beethoven's Ninth Symphony together , which is powerful and dramatic and has lots of familiar bits in it. And they're also playing this piece. British composer Edward Elgar's Cello Concerto in D Minor with Alisa Weiler on cello. This is actually a recording of Weilerstein herself playing Elgar's Cello Concerto in 2012 in Berlin. And I put this movement The Adagio On to listen to earlier in the week , and it's just really all I have wanted to listen to all week. It's so mournful and so emotive.
S1: You can find details about these and more arts events and sign up for Julia's weekly KPBS Arts newsletter by visiting KPBS Dawgs Arts. I've been speaking with KPBS Arts Editor and producer Julia Dixon Evans. And thank you so much , Julia.
S4: Thank you , Maureen. Have a good weekend.