Indiana state senators react to talk of new gun legislation


INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The shooting in Charleston has sparked a national conversation about gun laws.

Some people feel now is the time to talk about restricting access, while others disagree.

Two Indiana state senators on either side of the aisle offered their condolences to the families of the shooting victims, saying this was a senseless act of violence.

However they differ on how the country should move forward as far as making any changes to gun legislation.

“I think there needs to be a national conversation about guns in America and how easily accessible guns are,” State Senator Jean Breaux (D-Indianapolis) said.

Breaux would like to see more legislation about gun access.

“I certainly don’t want to prohibit anyone from their right to exercise their right to have a gun and have access to a gun but I think we have to be responsible and that’s where the conversation needs to be,” she said.

She said that discussion is important from a public safety perspective.

“Definitely we need to make sure that if you are having access to a weapon that you have been vetted to make sure you’re of sound mind,” she said.

State Senator Brent Waltz (R-Greenwood) agrees, but said he doesn’t see a need for immediate change.

He believes the screenings currently used in this country are working as best they can.

“I think we’ve had that conversation,” he said. “I think it’s healthy to have that conversation in the future, but unfortunately the first act of violence occurs with someone who’s apparently normal.”

He also believes it’s too soon after such a tragedy to talk about gun laws.

“I think it’s a time for our nation to come together in mourning as opposed to trying to figure out ways to divide us,” Waltz said.

But he said in the future a discussion he’d like to see would be about rehabilitation as a way to prevent gun violence, as opposed to restrictions to access.

“Make sure that individuals that have drug and alcohol problems and minor crimes as a result of that receive the type of healthcare that they need,” he said. “I think that could be very helpful.”

The National Rifle Association released a statement Friday: “We are praying for the victims and their families and out of respect for their tragic loss, we do not feel that this is appropriate time for a political debate. “

WISH-TV reached out to a group called “Moms Demand Action,” founded by a Zionsville woman.

Its local spokeswoman said she advocates for increased screenings for those buying guns and that now is an appropriate time to discuss the issue.

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