Another perspective: Indiana lawmakers ignoring facts, reason on guns

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(Jeffersonville & New Albany) News and Tribune

Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter, a Republican, warned state lawmakers in February about eliminating the need for a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

“I sure hope you choose to show deference to law enforcement professionals who understand the magnitude and the frontline effects of this legislation, rather than the possibility of getting reelected or unelected the next primary,” he said.

But the majority ignored Carter’s advice, and in March, Gov. Eric Holcomb signed the so-called “Constitutional Carry” legislation into law. The new law takes effect July 1. Carter’s objection was understandable. Traffic stops become much more dangerous when the person behind the wheel might be armed.

For Hoosiers, the change means people without any training or registration can tote handguns in public spaces, and life in this state becomes more like like the Wild West.

But the law is also reflective of state leadership’s inability to tackle the issue of gun reform. Lawmakers are instead making it easier to buy and carry guns, even though obtaining a firearm has never really been an issue in Indiana. …

The idea that Hoosiers are somehow insulated from the wave of gun violence plaguing the country is misguided.

In Gary on June 12, two people were killed and four others wounded in a nightclub shooting. On the same date, five people were injured in a shooting in Indianapolis … . On May 21, two people were killed and three injured in a shooting in Goshen.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Indiana had 1,159 gun deaths in 2020, ranking the state 17th in the nation in the number of gun deaths per 100,000 residents.

The staggering loss of life from mass shootings garners the bulk of our attention, and that typically leads to emphasis on regulating assault-style weapons such as the AR-15. But the CDC says handguns – the weapons Indiana is making it easier to carry – accounted for 59% of all the murders and manslaughters carried out using a gun in 2020. …

Any meaningful reform in Indiana must begin with state lawmakers. It’s far too easy to obtain and carry a gun in Indiana. While owning a gun is a Constitutional right, safeguards and common sense restrictions must be installed.

As lawmakers and the governor consider special sessions this summer to address inflation and abortion, they should also reserve time to address gun laws. As the state police superintendent told lawmakers months ago, politics have no place in protecting the public.

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