Make your home page

Indiana lawmakers share differing stances on raising gun-buying age

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Some states are moving to raise the age limit to purchase a firearm to 21.

State Sen. Ed Melton, a Democrat from Merrillville, said, “I think it’s a step in the right direction. Of course, that’s not going to address all of the gun policies that need to be addressed as a state.”

In the wake of the Feb. 14 Parkland, Florida, school shooting, Walmart, Dick’s Sporting Goods and L.L. Bean announced they won’t sell guns to anyone under 21. The Kroger Co. announced plans to phase out selling magazines that feature assault rifles.

State Rep. Ed DeLaney, a Democrat from Indianapolis, said, “I’m just very pleased and gratified to see private industries saying there’s a real problem with our country with kids being killed by guns. There’s a problem with the nature of some of these weapons. There’s a problem with how we sell them, and they’re stepping up.”

On March 9, Florida’s governor signed sweeping gun legislation, raising the gun-buying age to 21 and extending the waiting period to three days. The National Rifle Association is suing Florida over the age limit increase, saying it is unconstitutional.

We wanted to know if Indiana lawmakers would consider a similar move here, so we asked lawmakers before the 2018 state legislative session ended shortly after midnight Wednesday.

House Minority Leader Terry Goodin, a Democrat from Austin, said, “I think as we talk about the gun debate, I think everything needs to be on the table. I think adults need to sit at that table and talk about what needs to be done to make Indiana a safer place to live, work and raise a family.”

House Speaker Brian Bosma, a Republican from Indianapolis, said, “I personally don’t think the state needs to act in this regard right now. It’s a little ironic that we put an M-16 in a young man’s hand and we put him on the streets of Kabul but don’t let him buy a .22 rifle for target practice when he returns. So, I have no problem with the free-market making those decisions.”

Last week, the National Rife Association praised what it calls “anti-gun legislation that stalled and failed to pass this session.”

Even so, Moms Demand Action said they believe the tide is turning about gun legislation.

Beth Sprunger, a spokeswoman for Moms Demand Action, said, “Being able to see companies see this and the general public is starting to change the way they feel about gun laws.”

President Donald has tweeted that raising the age limit is up to the states for now. He said he’ll watch the court cases and rulings before acting on a federal level.