State lawmaker pushes new gun bills for 2016 session

(WLFI Photo, file)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — In the midst of the president’s executive order for gun control, one Indiana lawmaker is focused on making changes specifically for Hoosier gun owners.

But some are worried doing so would only increase the opportunity for violence across the state.

“All of us need to demand governors and legislators and businesses do their part to make our community safer,” said an emotional President Barack Obama as he pushed for strict gun laws involving background checks.

Meanwhile, Indiana State Representative Jim Lucas pushed back.

“Plain and simple he’s wrong,” Rep. Lucas said of the president’s remarks.

Rep. Lucas proposed two House bills of his own Tuesday, both for the second consecutive year.
HB 1055 would stop state agencies from regulating gun possession on site, meaning people could walk around the Statehouse or public college campuses armed with a gun.

HB 1056 would repeal the law requiring people to get a license to carry a hand gun.

“If you’re prohibited from carrying and you carry a gun, you’re already breaking a multitude of laws to begin with,” said Rep. Lucas. “So this doesn’t affect the people that are law abiding and that are innocent, it only affects those that are prone to break the law anyway.”

Standing on the campus if Ivy Tech Community College, Ten Point Coalition leader Rev. Charles Harrison worried about the proposed bills.

“We are just losing too many people in this country by gun violence every year,” he said.

Harrison believes HB 1056 would encourage criminals to carry a gun in public with less concern about getting in trouble.

“Because then you would not be able to tell the difference between somebody that should have a gun and somebody that should not have a gun,” he said.

Harrison also worried allowing people to carry at a college or state agency is a dangerous idea, saying someone with a “beef” against another person could lead to the firearm being used.

But the future of both bills isn’t up to him, it’s up to the men and women who pack the Statehouse for the next session.

“Public perception, it’s starting to come our way on the gun rights issue,” said a confident Rep. Lucas.

He said last year was a budget year and the state had fiscal issues which prevented his bills from getting heard. But now, he believes both will get more attention this session. He said a rise in gun sales and people taking classes on how to use guns proves Indiana is closer to accepting his ideas.

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