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Lawmakers Hear Testimony on Hoosier Gun Bill

Brandon Smith
Indiana Public Broadcasting

Legislation that would allow guns to be locked in cars on school property is attracting national attention.  The head of an anti-gun violence group testified Monday in a committee hearing on the bill.

Proposed legislation would allow licensed gun owners to keep their guns locked in their cars on school property, which is currently a felony. 

Shannon Watts is the founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, an organization founded in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut, school shooting.  She says the proposed bill strips the rights of schools and school boards from determining how to best protect their students.

“Schools do not want firearms on their properties and neither do the mothers of Indiana,” Watts said. “This committee should not ignore the voices of experts on this issue and work only to serve those who support this bill – the gun lobby and a small group of parents who wish to carry a gun to their child’s school.”

Trevor Santos is the state liaison for the National Rifle Association.  He says current law unfairly punishes law-abiding citizens.

“There are thousands – tens of thousands – of permit holders here in the state of Indiana,” Santos said. “They have been vetted by the state, they’ve gone through background checks to have their permit and we feel that they should not become a felon because they crossed an imaginary line.”

The House and Senate deadline to pass the bill is Friday.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.