January 20, 2016

Bill Would Allow Statehouse Staffers To Carry Handguns In Capitol

A bill giving Statehouse staff members permission to carry handguns passed a Senate committee Wednesday. - stock photo

A bill giving Statehouse staff members permission to carry handguns passed a Senate committee Wednesday.

stock photo

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana lawmakers can carry guns in the Statehouse, and they want their staff members to be able to do the same. A Senate committee Wednesday approved a bill granting that permission.

It’s a violent world, says Wadesville Republican Sen. Jim Tomes, author of the bill that would allow staff members, not just lawmakers, to carry handguns in the state capitol building. He says allowing staff members to defend themselves is especially important, considering what he calls the dangerous area surrounding their workplace in downtown Indianapolis.

“To point a finger at that person, at these innocent people that work in this building and say ‘You know, yeah we carry our guns but we just don’t think you ought to have that same ability to protect yourself,’” Tomes said.

Indianapolis Democratic Sen. Greg Taylor says he feels uncomfortable allowing more guns in the Statehouse because of what he views as a lack of trust between law enforcement and people of color, like himself.

“If I walk in here with a pistol, I’m gonna tell you right now…the first thing that’s gonna be done, they’re not gonna ask questions first, they’re gonna shoot first,” Taylor said.

The bill passed 6-3, along party lines, and goes to the Senate floor.

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