Indiana representatives respond to mass shootings

In this Jan. 19, 2016 file photo, handguns are displayed at the Smith & Wesson booth at the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — In response to the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Eyewitness News reached out to representatives for Indiana for their stance.

In light of the President's remarks on background checks, we asked each lawmaker the following four questions:

  • What is your comment on the recent shootings?
  • What is your stance on gun control?
  • What are your plans for future legislation regarding gun control?
  • Regrading the House passing the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, what stance do you take?

Here are their responses:

Rep. Jim Baird (IN-04)

“My prayers are with the people affected by the recent senseless acts of mass violence. Thank you to law-enforcement and first responders for their continuous dedication to our communities to protect and save lives. These acts of evil must be stopped! We can protect the Second Amendment, while also exploring the use of Red Flag laws and how we conduct background checks. Policy alone will not stop evil. We must search deeper to find what our families, neighbors and communities can do to address the root of the problem. In Congress, I am committed to working with my colleagues toward solutions that make America safer.”

The congressman did not respond with any specifics to any of the other questions including future legislation or background checks.

Rep. Susan W. Brooks (IN-05)

“Shootings in malls, bars, festivals, places of worship, schools or any other place are horrifically tragic, happening far too often, and must stop. Thank you to police officers, medical teams and all first responders who are working to protect and save innocent lives. We must and can do more to prevent these senseless acts of violence. Red flag laws, like Indiana’s Jake Laird Law, save lives while ensuring due process rights. It’s past time for Congress to act!”

Her stance on the second amendment can be found here.

She also responded to legislation she has passed and is working to pass.

Congresswoman Brooks introduced legislation last Congress and again this year that would lead to gun violence reduction, the Jake Laird Act. The Jake Laird Act, named after an Indianapolis police officer who was shot and killed in 2004 by a man who struggled with mental illness, would give grants to states so they can put red flag laws in place.

Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02)

“After the horrific acts of violence our nation witnessed this weekend, I am praying for the innocent victims, the survivors, and their families. We must all come together as Americans to confront the evils of white supremacy, hatred, and terror in all its forms. I am committed to working with my colleagues to confront the threat of domestic terrorism, address gaps in mental health care, ensure our laws are fully enforced, and protect the rights of law-abiding citizens.”

The congresswoman did also comment on the bipartisan background checks legislation.

“I voted against this misguided legislation because it would turn upstanding citizens into criminals while doing nothing to prevent mass shootings or stop firearm thefts and straw purchases that are already illegal. Instead of partisan proposals that infringe on Americans’ constitutional rights, we should focus on strengthening security and law enforcement, addressing gaps in mental health care, and building on commonsense reforms like the Fix NICS Act Congress passed into law last year.”

The congresswoman did not respond with any specifics to any of the other questions.

Rep. Larry Bucshon (IN-08)

“The tragic events this past weekend in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio were acts of cowardice carried out by wicked individuals trying to strike fear in our hearts. I join the President and the nation in praying for the victims and their families during this difficult time, as well as expressing my gratitude for the law enforcement personnel and first responders who leapt to action to protect and care for their fellow citizens. When it comes to preventing these senseless acts of violence, as a physician I believe that it’s important to treat the disease and not the symptoms. That means as a nation we must prevent individuals from turning to violence in the first place by swiftly and soundly confronting and rooting out white supremacist terrorism – no differently than we have dealt with the threat of radical Islamic terrorism – and by improving access to mental health care and confronting the underlying glorification of violence that is unfortunately the norm in our culture today.”

The congressman did not respond with any specifics to any of the other questions including future legislation or background checks.

Rep. André Carson (IN-07)

"I’m horrified by the tragic events in El Paso and Dayton, and by all mass shootings. There have been more than 250 in this year alone, and my heart breaks for every person who has been impacted by these senseless acts of violence."

What is your stance on gun control?

"This country is experiencing a gun violence epidemic. We must implement common-sense gun safety reforms, including a federal assault weapons ban, that can help prevent future violence."

What are your plans for future legislation regarding gun control?

"The House has done its work by passing bold and smart legislation to help keep guns out of the wrong hands. We passed the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, a bill that ensures background checks for all gun sales. And we also passed a bill that closes a loophole that allows some people to buy a gun before a background check is completed. I’m going to continue urging the Senate to take up these pieces of legislation. And I’ll also continue my efforts to pass other gun safety measures in the House, like the Assault Weapons Ban and a federal version of Indiana’s red flag law."

Regrading the House passing the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, what stance do you take?

"I proudly cosponsored this bill and voted for it. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to do the same."

Rep. Greg Pence (IN-06)

“It is now time for all of us to come together and take action against evil and hate. Thank you to the swift response by law enforcement and first responders in El Paso and Dayton, who saved countless lives by putting their own on the line.”

The congressman did not respond with any specifics to any of the other questions including future legislation or background checks.

Representatives who did not respond

  • Rep. James Banks (IN-03)
  • Rep. Pete Visclosky (IN-01)
  • Rep. Trey Hollingsworth (IN-09)

NRA rankings

  • Rep. Pete Visclosky (IN-01) - F (Since 2016)
  • Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02) - A (Since 2016)
  • Rep. James Banks (IN-03) - A+ (Since 2016)
  • Rep. Jim Baird (IN-04) - A (Since 2014)
  • Rep. Susan Brooks (IN-05) - A (Since 2016)
  • Rep. Greg Pence (IN-06) - Not yet ranked
  • Rep. André Carson (IN-07) - D (Since 2014)
  • Rep. Larry Bucshon (IN-08) - A (Since 2014)
  • Rep. Trey Hollingsworth (IN-09) - A (Since 2016 and based on his responses to the NRA without voting on gun legislation)

NRA Donations

Source: OpenSecrets.org

  • Rep. Pete Visclosky (IN-01) - Not Found
  • Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02) - $12,000 (Since 2012)
  • Rep. James Banks (IN-03) - $3,000 (Since 2016)
  • Rep. Jim Baird (IN-04) - $1,000 (Since 2018)
  • Rep. Susan Brooks (IN-05) - $3,000 (Since 2012)
  • Rep. Greg Pence (IN-06) - $2,500 (Since 2018)
  • Rep. André Carson (IN-07) - Not Found
  • Rep. Larry Bucshon (IN-08) - $9,000 (Since 2012)
  • Rep. Trey Hollingsworth (IN-09) - $4,000 (Since 2016)
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