Bill would create task force to address violent crime, trace guns used in crimes

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — State lawmakers are focused on tracing guns used in crimes and legislation moving through the Statehouse would create a Crime Guns Task Force to address violence in Central Indiana.

Every time a gun is fired, it leaves microscopic marks on the bullet and cartridge case. Those marks are unique, like a fingerprint. If the gun’s involved in an illegal shooting, state Rep. Greg Steuerwald said it goes into a national database.

“Just like DNA, when the gun is subsequently used in another crime, then it’ll be what they call a ‘hit.’ It’ll be a match for one that’s used in another crime. So they can actually follow the gun to the trail of different felonies which it’s been involved in,” Steuerwald explained.

For almost the last two years, IMPD has partnered with ATF to run a crime gun intelligence center that now includes Fishers police. Last year alone, that center took almost 300 illegal guns off the streets just in Marion County.

Steuerwald explained his bill would create a crime guns task force to address violent crime in Marion and the seven surrounding counties in Central Indiana. The task force would also work in cooperation with state and federal authorities, according to the bill.

“It’s an all-encompassing thing focusing on those that are contributing to the violence in not just Marion County, but our surrounding counties. But also holding accountable those trigger pullers, those people that we know are out there committing dangerous acts of violence while armed with a weapon,” Chris Bailey, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s Assistant Chief of Police explained Tuesday to News 8. “I believe that every time we take an illegally possessed handgun out of the hands of a known shooter, we save a life. That’s the goal here is to save lives.”

Steuerwald explained why he feels central Indiana needs the legislation.

“The coordinated effort. When one county is involved with a gun shooting, they might think it’s an isolated instance. But when you enter it into this system, then you see this gun has been used throughout central Indiana. So it’s a great ability to communicate and coordinate efforts on the guns that been used in various counties,” Steuerwald explained.

Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness told News 8 that in the last year and a half, 171 crime guns have been collected off the streets in Fishers. Fadness said 101 of those have been connected to another violent crime in central Indiana. He supports the bill, adding that central Indiana violence is an issue that concerns all of us.

“I think we have a real opportunity to clearly identify those individuals and the weapons that are terrorizing our neighborhoods. We can go get those individuals and hold them accountable. Meanwhile, leaving our neighborhoods peaceful. I think that’s a tremendous opportunity and something that I’m fiercely advocating for here at the statehouse,” Fadness said.

The bill passed unanimously out of committee Tuesday. It’s expected on the Senate floor in the coming days and has already passed the House in late February.