INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – National organization Moms Demand Action is pushing for stronger gun laws. At least 150 volunteers and survivors of gun violence are kicking off Advocacy Week Monday morning.
They’re rallying for bills that will be taken up during the upcoming legislative session.
Under current Indiana law, you must have a permit to carry loaded handguns in public, openly or concealed. You must also pass a background check. However, Moms Demand Action is opposing seven permit-less carry bills currently in the Indiana House that would remove these regulations (HB 1034, HB 1232, HB 1241, HB 1289, HB 1369, HB 1460, and HB 1544).
The group is lobbying against HB 1027 Handgun Training For Teachers that allows teachers to be armed at school. Others they reject are SB 64 and HB 1124. Moms Demand Action member and Indiana chapter co-lead Jennifer Haan told News 8 SB 64 lists 40 hours of required handgun training for teachers to carry at school.
“If we’re expecting our teachers to act as police officers and we’re expecting them to fire surrounded by children in a chaotic situation then 40 hours isn’t going to cut it. It needs to be at least 168 hours which is what we’re expecting from our police officers, if not more,” said Haan. “We don’t want to see schools looking at us and saying that’s a cost savings. We can get rid of an SRL or we don’t have to hire a school resource officer and instead we’ll just put another burden on one of our teachers and let them serve not just as a classroom teacher, but also as a security guard.”
Haan added that they’re opposing two bills that will eliminate gun-free zones (HB 1295 and HB 1375) . The hope is that these bills do not receive hearings, but Haan said Moms Demand Action will be ready to oppose them if they do.
The group is in full support for SB 285 Safe Storage Handguns written by Senator Fady Quaddora. The bill prevents a child or resident that is disqualified or ineligible to gain access to the firearm. A person can face a Level 6 felony or a level 5 felony if the person has a prior under the legislation.
Haan said 78% of school shooters get their guns from home and it reduces teen suicide. “Safe storage would help the current gun violence situation that we see going on in many of our cities. Indianapolis, South Bend, Evansville, Gary, Fort Wayne they’re also seeing a surge of gun violence within the city,” added Haan.
The Moms Demand Action member said a similar bill was proposed last year from a senator in Bloomington, but it wasn’t heard.
The bill has been assigned to the Corrections and Criminal Law Committee. Moms Demand Action is hoping the bill gets heard by Chairman State Senator Republican Michael Young by Feb. 22, but Haan said Young specifically told them that he doesn’t have time to hear the bill.
The Senator sent News 8 a statement on February 10th below:
“With 51 bills assigned to the Senate Committee on Corrections on Criminal Law this session, it is not possible to schedule each bill for a hearing.
“In order to allow ample time for presentation, testimony and discussion, I was only able to schedule 22 bills to be heard in the five meetings before our committee deadline. With COVID-19 safety precautions in place, there is even less time than usual for our committee to complete its business. We will have to see whether we’ll even be able to hear and vote on all the bills that are still on the schedule in our one remaining meeting.
“While this is not ideal, our committee is working diligently to thoroughly vet and pass legislation that will improve Indiana’s criminal code.”