Committee Passes Bill That Would Allow Statehouse Staff To Carry Guns

Jan 20, 2016

Credit Gretchen Frazee / Indiana Public Broadcasting

State lawmakers can carry guns in the Statehouse, and they want their staff members to be able to do the same. A Senate committee Wednesday approved a bill that would grant that permission.

It’s a violent world, says Sen. Jim Tomes (R-Wadesville), the author of a bill that would allow staff members, not just lawmakers, to carry handguns in the state capitol building.

Tomes says allowing staff members to defend themselves is especially important, considering what he calls the dangerous area surrounding their workplace in downtown Indianapolis.

“To point a finger at that person, at these innocent people that work in this building and say ‘You know, yeah we carry our guns but we just don’t think you ought to have that same ability to protect yourself,’” Tomes says.

Sen. Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis) says he feels uncomfortable allowing more guns in the Statehouse because of what he views as a lack of trust between law enforcement and people of color like himself.

“If I walk in here with a pistol, I’m going to tell you right now -- the first thing that’s going to be done, they’re not going to ask questions first, they’re going to shoot first.”

The bill passed 6-3, along party lines, and goes to the Senate floor.