The Indiana General Assembly is filthy with representatives who identify job creation as their top priority, but too often the legislative body’s work is nothing of the sort.
Take, for example, House Bill 1048, a measure aimed – astonishingly – at making it easier to carry guns on school property. Rep. Jim Lucas, R-Seymour, is an unabashed gun rights supporter – life member of the National Rifle Association, Gun Owners of America, South Central Gun Club and Hoosier Hills Rifle and Pistol Club – but his eagerness to undo common-sense gun regulations is breathtaking. He was the primary force behind a failed measure last year that would have required all schools to have an armed person with a loaded weapon in the building during school hours.
Lucas’ latest bill, as filed, would have reduced the penalty for bringing a gun into a school from a felony to a misdemeanor.
In the House Public Policy Committee last week, his colleagues wisely rejected that provision but left untouched language that extends take-your-guns-to-work provisions to school employees.
A lot of teachers want to exercise their right to self-defense, Lucas told the committee.
Never mind that there’s been no public outcry from teachers demanding to carry guns at school, nor are there examples anywhere of teachers pulling personal weapons from their vehicles to disarm a school shooter.
Give Rep. Tom Dermody, R-LaPorte, credit for at least disarming Lucas’ legislation. According to the Times of Northwest Indiana, he worked with school and law enforcement officials to arrive at a compromise before the committee hearing. He offered the amendment removing the misdemeanor change but allowing an individual licensed to carry a handgun to keep it out of sight in his or her locked vehicle while on school property.
Dermody said the revision would allow parents who regularly carry guns to drop their children off at school or to meet with a teacher without having to park off school property.
It’s certainly an improvement over Lucas’ version, but it would be even nicer to see legislation that would create jobs somewhere other than in gun sales.