Gov. Pence signs bill allowing guns in cars on school property
Governor Mike Pence has signed a bill allowing guns to be locked in cars on school property as long as they are hidden and in the parking lot.
Two Indianapolis fathers downtown Wednesday held opposing views on the controversy.
"I believe guns belong at home," said Don White, heading to the Pacers game with his son.
But another dad, Kevin Wilson, thinks "it's a fair rule. Fair law."
The bill generated debate at the Indiana Statehouse earlier this month, with several groups including the Indiana State Teachers Association opposing the measure. A rash of school shootings got both sides energized.
A spokesman for the National Rifle Association argued that vetted gun license holders should not become felons for "passing an imaginary line" onto school property. The other side, including some education groups, said weapons are too dangerous to have on school property, unless they're in the hands of school security.
The pro-gun side won that argument.
"Governor Pence believes in the right to keep and bear arms and that this is a common sense reform of the law that accomplishes the goal of keeping parents and law-abiding citizens from being charged with a felony when they pick their kids up at school or go to cheer on the local basketball team," the governor's office wrote in a statement Wednesday evening.
For fathers White and Wilson, the debate continues.
"When you put them out in vehicles, vehicles are broken into daily and the opportunity for someone, a criminal, a gun can end up in the wrong hands. I would say guns should be at home," White said.
"In today's society, if people need to protect themselves, they need to do so," Wilson countered.
Even with more police around a school, a gun in a car could be a lifesaver, many believe.
"It's always a deterrent. A definite factor. It could happen," Wilson said.
The bill also addresses firearm buyback programs, allowing that firearms may be destroyed to be sold to a salvage company or for recycling, and that buyback programs can be conducted with private funds or grants.
Text of the bill
Removes a provision from the law making possession of a firearm on property that is being used by a school for a school function a felony.
Provides, for purposes of the law concerning possession of firearms on school property, that the law does not apply to certain students who are members of a shooting sports team or certain individuals who may legally possess a firearm and possess a firearm that is locked in the trunk of the person's motor vehicle, kept in the glove compartment of the person's locked motor vehicle, or stored out of plain sight in the person's locked motor vehicle.
Specifies that the law concerning firearms in locked vehicles does not prohibit an employer from prohibiting an employee from possessing a firearm or ammunition at the employer's residence. Provides that the chapter concerning possession of firearms on school property and school buses does not apply to a person who may possess the firearm and possesses the firearm in a motor vehicle.
Makes it a Class A misdemeanor if certain persons leave a firearm in plain view in a motor vehicle parked in a school parking lot. Removes a provision from the law concerning firearms in locked vehicles that allows a person to adopt or enforce an ordinance, a resolution, a policy or rule that prohibits an employee of the person from possessing a firearm or ammunition in or on school property, in or on property that is being used by a school for a school function, or on a school bus in violation of: (1) student discipline laws concerning possession of firearms; or (2) the law concerning possession of firearms on school property and school buses.
Provides that a person may adopt or enforce an ordinance, a resolution, a policy, or a rule that prohibits an employee from possessing a firearm or ammunition in a motor vehicle that is owned, leased, or controlled by a school or school district.
NOTE: The new law goes into effect July 1, 2014.