Convicted felon hopes new gun bill becomes a law

Martin Hensley (WISH Photo/ Jeff Wagner)
Martin Hensley (WISH Photo/ Jeff Wagner)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Only Governor Mike Pence stands between gun owners and the right to store firearms in their cars in school parking lots.

The bill passed the Indiana House Thursday night, and the man whose crime triggered the bill hopes the Governor signs off on it.

Marty Hensley said carrying a gun in your car wasn’t out of the ordinary back when he was a student several years ago.

But times have changed and school districts aren’t even sure how exactly to police this bill, if policing it is even possible. It’s not just a hot topic Marty Hensley wants to debate about on his radio show.

He’s literally waiting and hoping Governor Pence grants others a right he says was taken from him in this school parking lot.

“It’s been financially, personally, emotionally, it’s been a horrible experience,” he said.

Hensley was cuffed and convicted after leaving his handgun in his car that was parked outside Harris Elementary. He had gone inside to visit his daughters.

“I really didn’t know that there was a problem with having a gun in my vehicle and I think most people didn’t know,” Hensley said.

That’s why a bill is one step away from making sure other licensed gun owners don’t slip up like he did.

“I think most people who are responsible with their guns probably keep them in their trunks or in their homes unless they’re really going to be using them at a certain time,” said parent Phil Strahm.

But some districts fear that won’t always happen.

The superintendent for Greenfield Central Community Schools doesn’t like the idea of guns being anywhere near students unless it’s in the hands of police.

Another superintendent told us it’s impossible to even know if a gun is inside a car, with or without the law.

“I understand what they’re trying to do to keep the kids as safe as possible,” said Strahm.

Being a threat to students never crossed Hensley’s mind. But if the bill passes, it won’t have to cross the minds of others either.

“I think people that are responsible and treat their weapons responsibly shouldn’t have a problem, it’s a right,” he said.

Hensley hopes that if the bill passes his felony record would be cleared, but he’s not sure if that’s possible. He still has to serve out a one year probation sentence.

When it ends, Hensley said a judge has the option of knocking his conviction down to a misdemeanor. But there’s no guarantee.

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