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Indiana Gun Legislation 20 Years After Brady Act

Sarah and James Brady at a press conference on handgun control in 1997.

Friday marks the 20th anniversary of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act. The bill requires background checks for individuals purchasing firearms.

But former Brady Campaign president Paul Helmke says Indiana hasn’t done much more than the minimum on gun regulations in those 20 years.

“What concerns me with our legislature sometimes is they think that once they’ve done that they don’t need to do anything more. I’d like to try to take steps to try to make it harder for these dangerous people from getting these guns in the first place,” Helmke says.

In the 2014 legislative session, two bills concerning firearms have drawn attention. Senate Bill 229 would ban gun buyback programs.

And Senate Bill 226 would allow judges to impose tougher sentences on individuals convicted of using a gun in violent crime. The bill’s sponsor, Indianapolis Republican senator Jim Merritt, says the measure is necessary to curb violent crime in Indiana.

“To me, it’s not the gun that commits the violent crime, it’s the person,” Merritt says. “And I think all gun owners that are responsible with their weapons would support us cracking down on this sort of violent crime.”

Both bills are awaiting final votes before the end of this year’s session.

Emily Nelson contributed to this report.

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