INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – There are new calls for a ban on assault weapons as a result of the murder of Officer Perry Renn, but it’s still a tough sell in Indiana.
The President has called for a ban on assault weapons but even Democratic Senator Joe Donnelly is unwilling to support a ban. In a statement sent to 24-Hour News 8, Donnelly said he prefers tougher background checks and a crackdown on gun trafficking.
Congressman André Carson sees it differently. “I support second amendment rights to bear arms. I’m a former police officer,” he said. “But I believe assault weapons should only be in the hands of military personnel and police officers.”
The man accused of shooting Perry Renn used an assault weapon and it sparked calls for change made outside the hospital shortly after the officer’s death.
“We’ll just say that (suspect) Major Davis had an assault weapon,” said Police Chief Rick Hite. “That, in and of itself, says that’s a major problem.”
“Gun violence is a public health problem,” said Dr. Thomas Hayward, “and a social problem that we need to address.”
Monday public safety officials didn’t back off. “This is not the first time he’s had an assault weapon,” said Chief Hite of Davis. “The question is why?”
“This is not a second amendment debate,” said Public Safety Director Troy Riggs. “This is an issue about enforcing and using those laws that are on the books and strengthening those.”
Among those who want tougher laws, including an assault weapons ban, is state Representative Ed DeLaney, who intends to run for mayor.
“This just drives it home. It’s just a danger to the police.” he said. “The police say they’re under threat. Are we going to protect them or not?”
There is a consensus that something needs to be done.
“The level and the generation and the growing disrespect and contempt for authority that we’re seeing,” said Rep. Carson, “must be put to an end.”
The hope held by public safety officials is that a policeman’s murder will help others focus on what that something is.
Chief Hite also wants tougher sentencing for gun crimes and more community support for troubled kids. He is calling on the public to get involved and he’s also asking reporters to put pressure on elected officials.