General Assembly OKs guns in school parking lots

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There's new controversy over a move by Indiana lawmakers that would allow guns at schools.

The law makes it legal for some people to have guns in school parking lots, but some teachers, parents and even students are concerned about student safety.

The bill passed the Senate 38-10 and the House 75-24 Thursday night. The measure now goes to Gov. Mike Pence for consideration.

Read the bill here.

Local high school students, like those playing basketball in Beech Grove High School's gymnasium Thursday afternoon, said they're too young to remember the deadly shooting at Columbine High School, but they said they'll remember the one at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut.

"That scared me a lot," said freshman Meghan McCormick.

These students have grown up in a time where people ask: "Could it happen here?"

"It does go through my mind and when there's fights at school, it really does scare me, because I want this to be a safe environment for me to come to," said McCormick.

That's why the high school freshman said she's against a law allowing registered gun owners to leave their guns locked in their cars in school parking lots.

"You don't know what's going through people's minds. They could be crazy and we don't even know it," she said.

McCormick wasn't the only one expressing her displeasure concerning the proposed law. School administrators, teachers and the organizations representing them spent the week lobbying lawmakers to vote against the measure.

"I don't see the rationale why have guns anywhere near a school campus," said Beech Grove Schools Superintendent Paul Kaiser.

Lawmakers who support the law, though, said it would protect law abiding Hoosiers, like teachers licensed to carry a gun or parents picking their kids up from school, from becoming felons just because they have a gun in their car on school property.

"To vote against this is a declaration that you don't think your teachers or your principals or your superintendents that they don't have the same luxury to be able to protect themselves driving to and from work," said Senator Jim Tomes on the Senate Floor during discussion Thursday night.

"In not one instance, not one instance, has there ever been a teacher who went out to their car and went and got berserk and shot anybody, especially a student," added Senator Brent Steele.

Those arguments don't convince school administrators.

"We're constantly thinking about what if and what might happen," said Kaiser, speaking about gun violence and protecting students and teachers at school.

Kaiser and some Beech Grove High School students said they believe the what ifs surrounding gun violence at schools will only increase if they're allowed on school parking lots.

"People can turn on a dime in a minute," said McCormick.

"You could be level headed at one point, but you could just lose it," added Chance Littlejohn.

See a list of all bills Gov. Pence has signed into law.