Bill To Allow Guns In Ind. School Parking Lots Nears Passage
By Mike Perleberg
(Indianapolis, Ind.) – A proposal to allow guns in Indiana’s school parking lots is raising debate at the statehouse.
Senate Bill 229, co-authored by National Rifle Association board member and State Sen. Johnny Nugent (R-Lawrenceburg), would allow licensed gun owners to keep a gun locked in their vehicle parked on school property. A gun would have to be stored in the vehicle out of plain view, otherwise the owner would be charged with a Class A misdemeanor.
Currently, having a gun on school property – even if in a vehicle – is a felony. Under the legislation, taking a gun into a school would remain a felony.
The bill originally dealt only with outlawing the use of public funds for gun “buyback” programs. SB 229 was amended to include the school provision in the House, where it passed March 3rd on a 74-24 vote. It now resides in conference committee as lawmakers work to compromise on the Senate and House versions.
During a hearing Monday, the Indiana chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America voiced opposition to the bill. The organization’s founder, Shannon Watts, said schools and mothers do not want firearms on school property.
“This committee should not ignore the voices of experts on this issue and work only to serve those who support this bill: the gun lobby and a small group of parents who wish to carry a gun to their child’s school,” said Watts.
However, State Representative Sean Eberhart (R-Shelbyville), who is a sponsor of the bill, supports the legislation saying it would allow for “self-protection to and from schools.”
The conference committee has not reached a consensus on the legislation yet. State Rep. Jud McMillin (R-Brookville) is an advisor in the committee. The panel could meet again on Tuesday as the Friday deadline to pass bills quickly approaches.