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House Committee Scales Back Bill That Relaxes Gun Control


Photo: Keary O. (flickr)

The amended bill allows guns in school parking lots if they are locked in a car and out of sight.

A House committee Wednesday significantly scaled back legislation that would have lowered the penalty for carrying a gun on school property.

Rep. Jim Lucas, R-Seymour, authored the bill that would have lowered the penalty for gun possession on school property from a felony to a misdemeanor.

A change made in the House Public Policy committee would now only permit a person to carry a gun in school parking lots, and the gun must be locked in the car, out of sight.

The bill also gets rid of so-called roaming school zones. That is, if students are on a school field trip at the zoo, a person carrying a gun won’t be committing a crime.

National Rifle Association lobbyist Trevor Santos says the legislation creates common sense corrections.

“A mother is dropping her child off at school one morning but is approached by a teacher for a meeting,” Santos says. “Under current law, the mother would have to find somewhere other than the school parking lot to park her vehicle or this otherwise law-abiding citizen could face criminal charges.”

Rep. Mark GiaQuinta, D-Fort Wayne, says the changes made in committee make the bill much more acceptable.

“But certainly in this day and age, we want to make sure that we’re doing the right thing with some of the school violence that we’ve seen as well, so that’s why I wanted to kind of hold the bill, take a look and make sure that we’ve covered all our bases,” he says.

The committee heard testimony on the bill Wednesday but, at GiaQuinta and other Democrats’ request, held off voting on the bill until at least next week.

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