Carrying a gun on school property is currently a level six felony, which carries a potential sentence of more than two years in prison.
Rep. Jim Lucas’, R-Seymour, proposed legislation would lower the penalty from a felony to a class A misdemeanor.
He says his bill is aimed at addressing scenarios in which Hoosiers could be charged with a crime for an entirely unintentional act.
“And as we all now, felonies can destroy people’s lives,” Lucas said. “They can’t vote, they’re no longer able to defend themselves, they can’t hold office and for something that’s unintentional, I think that’s way too strict of a punishment.”
Rep. Linda Lawson, D-Hammond, a former police officer who’s part of the legislative effort rewriting Indiana’s criminal code, says there’s no reason to lower the penalty.
“It would be a really easy excuse if you were going there to create some kind of mischief to say, ‘Oh my gosh, you know what? I forgot that’s in my back pocket,’” Lawson said. ” I think if people understand and just know school property is off limits that that is the way to handle that.”
Lucas is the same lawmaker who, last session, proposed language that would have required each Indiana school to have at least one armed staff person.