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House OKs firearms on school property

INDIANAPOLIS – Licensed gun owners would be able to legally have firearms in vehicles on school parking lots under a bill passed 74-24 by the Indiana House Monday.

Right now it is a felony to have a gun on school property, including parking lots and buildings.

But under Senate Bill 229, Hoosiers with proper carry permits can keep firearms out of sight in locked vehicles on school property. If the gun is in sight or the vehicle is unlocked, it would be a misdemeanor.

It is still a felony to carry the firearm into the building.

The bill would apply to parents, teachers and other adults on the property. But students would be allowed only if they are members of a shooting club and have permission from the principal.

“These are common sense fixes,” said Rep. Sean Eberhart, R-Shelbyville. “Don’t make law abiding gun owners felons for exercising their right to self protection.”

The Senate author of the bill, Jim Tomes, R-Wadesville, said he will dissent on the bill, sending it to conference committee, because the House gutted the original legislation on gun buyback. And he needs to review the language about allowing firearms in school parking lots.