Lawmakers Debate Series Of Gun Bills

Feb 7, 2017


The House Public Policy Committee debated a series of firearm regulations, including one to allow people protected by restraining orders to carry a handgun without a license.

Rep. Sean Eberhart’s (R-Shelbyville) bill would allow people protected by a restraining order to carry a handgun without a license for up to 60 days. Eberhart says he wants to make sure people can protect themselves while they go through the application process.

Testifying in support of the bill, National Rifle Association instructor and former Indiana State Trooper Tamara Watson says she talks a lot about domestic violence in her courses.

“This bill may get passed but it may not be taken advantage of by a lot of women. But for that one person it does save their life, it’s worth it,” Watson says.

But Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence executive director Laura Berry says injecting guns into an abusive home dramatically increases the likelihood of the victim’s death, no matter who owns the gun.

“We employ many tactics to keep ourselves safe each and every day and firearms are usually not it because we know that will lead to our death,” Berry says.

The committee did not vote on the bill.

Another measure would allow off duty, reserve and retired police officers to carry guns on school property.

Current Indiana law bars most people from carrying a gun on school property. Law enforcement officers are the exception, and Rep. Jim Lucas (R-Seymour) wants to extend that exception to off-duty, reserve and retired law enforcement.

“To me, it’s common sense to be able to decriminalize retired law enforcement personnel or reserve officers – people who are trained and trusted to uphold the law – to go on school property. Those are the kind of people we want,” Lucas says.

But Indiana University Maurer School of Law professor Jody Madeira says guns in schools don’t improve safety.

“School boards in Indiana should be able to choose for themselves whether or not to allow them,” Madeira says.

The committee did not vote on that bill either.

It did approve legislation providing lifetime handgun licenses to law enforcement officers with at least 20 years on the job.