Gun sellers expanding their market in El Paso

EL PASO – This border city appears to be growing more gun-friendly as the number of gun dealers has increased by 29 percent in the past three years, according to a Borderzine analysis. The city now has 80 gun dealers compared to 62 in 2013, the analysis of ATF data showed.These figures include large retailers such as Walmart as well as private dealers, but exclude pawnbrokers who sell firearms.

“We have had peaks and valleys,” said Louis Southard, general manager at Sportsman’s Elite, a gun store and shooting range in El Paso, which has been open since January 2013. “In 2008, a little over five years ago, there was a rather large uptake in gun sales.” Tragic events can often drive an increase in gun sales, such as when the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting occurred in December 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut. Twenty children as well as six members of the school’s staff were fatally shot by a troubled gunman who killed himself after the attack.

El Paso Democrats’ victory party ends with chorus of ‘How did this happen?’

El PASO – On election night as Donald Trump claimed victory in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election and Hillary Clinton’s campaign drew to a close in defeat, I spent the evening with the El Paso County Democrats at their “victory” party. What started off as a hopeful event at the Camino Real hotel soon turned into a miserable affair. 6:40 p.m.: I arrive. There were already around 60 people gathered in the hotel’s grand Dome Bar. Drinks already flowing, the atmosphere was calm and relaxed.

Hazy skyline of El Paso

Air quality one of the biggest threats on U.S., Mexico border

EL PASO – Lower Valley resident Daniela Caro struggles to breathe some days. “On bad days my asthma gets really bad, my throat closes up, even walking to class is a little bit hard,” she said. The 23-year-old El Pasoan lives near Riverside where trucks spew toxic fumes as they transport goods across the El Paso-Juarez border. The American Lung Association ranks El Paso’s pollution in the top 20 among U.S. metropolitan areas for both particles and ozone. Poor air quality has been linked to health issues, particularly for at-risk groups like children, older adults and anyone with respiratory problems like asthma.

Immigration debate boosts voter registration on U.S. border

EL PASO – This border city has seen an increase in nearly 50,000 eligible voters during this season’s contentious U.S. presidential campaign. Some political observers say the increase in local residents who have registered to vote in November’s election between Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton may be a reaction to Trump’s harsh rhetoric on illegal immigration as well as negative statements he’s made in public about people of color. Trump has called for building an impenetrable border wall between the U.S. and Mexico and having Mexico pay for it. During one primary campaign speech, he referred to Mexican immigrants as “rapists.” “This is the first time time I will actually vote, so at 29 I actually had to learn what the registering process is,” said Jose Zubiate, an English major at UT El Paso.

Guns and showmanship – Seeing a Texas GOP debate watch party through the eyes of a study-abroad student

EL PASO, Texas – CNN reported that more than 80 million people tuned in to watch the Clinton-Trump debate on September 26, making it the most-watched presidential debate in history. It will also remain a day which will live long in my memory as my first real taste of a U.S. presidential debate watch. When I first arrived at the El Paso County Republican Party offices I was greeted with a man carrying a 12 gauge shotgun and a .44. Magnum marching Hilary Clinton around the offices. No, not the real Hillary, a masked version of the candidate.