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School gun amendment slips into House bill

INDIANAPOLIS – House Republicans pulled a fast one Tuesday by amending a bill on government reduction with language allowing teachers, students and parents to bring guns onto school grounds.

House Bill 1048 was heard in the House Public Policy Committee several weeks ago but was held before a vote. It was scheduled again but the chair held it again due to the Purdue University shooting happening.

On Tuesday morning the Public Policy Committee met on other bills but the gun bill was not scheduled. Today is the last day for bills to make it out of committee.

Instead, an amendment with the gun language was slipped into House Bill 1005 at a meeting of the Select Committee on Government Reduction.

The language means that teachers, visitors and students with a valid license to carry a handgun could keep firearms in their locked vehicles – out of sight – in school parking lots.

The gun cannot be carried into the school building or on a school bus.

Rep. David Wolkins, R-Winona Lake, chaired the committee. He said the chairman of the Public Policy Committee – Rep. Tom Dermody, R-LaPorte – had second thoughts about the gun bill and decided not to move it forward even though it had the votes.

Wolkins asked Dermody if he was OK with the amendment and he said yes.

“I didn’t realize it was going to be a big deal,” Wolkins said.

He was called to House Speaker Brian Bosma’s office about the situation this morning.

A spokeswoman said Bosma is very concerned with what happened and he will address it this afternoon during session.

He could refuse to call down the committee report on House Bill 1005, which could kill the language.

nkelly@jg.net

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