League of Women Voters LaPorte County

August 2018 Gun Safety Update

Dear League Members:

    The federal legislative report is simply that the two major gun related bills (Concealed Carry Reciprocity and Hearing Protection Act) are highly unlikely to be voted on before November as long as gun violence is in the public discussion.   As time goes on and mass shootings continue, the threat grows that the public will be so accustomed to hearing about mass shootings that the horror and suffering won't even register to cause the outrage needed to motivate the public and our legislators, so please do your part to help the public discussion continue.   Postings on social media are an easy and effective way to reach your family and friends.
   A membership meeting of the LWV of LaPorte County will be held in November focusing on gun safety.   Details will follow.   The Gun Safety Committee will meet in September, so please let me know if you want to be a part of the committee.
State Legislative Report:   In May, issues were determined by Resolution for Summer Study Committees, and there were no gun-related issues included.   None of the bills to loosen restrictions on guns in 2018 passed.  The two bills that made it through one chamber but failed in the final days of the session will likely be introduced in the 2019 Session. 
Follow this link to an article about a bill in 2019 regarding school safety
This is a link from Senator Charbonneau to a report with recommendations for school safety.    

     Jo Ann Engquist and I recently attended a seminar at Blue Chip titled "School Shootings: Lessons Learned".   The speakers were excellent and quite moving.  One is the mother of a child who died in the Sandy Hook School shooting, another is a survivor of the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007, and two are students at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School who helped organize March for Our Lives.   The first two speakers focused on school safety strategies and the emotional impact on survivors of mass shootings, but requested that the issue of gun violence not be discussed because it is so partisan and divisive.   The students from Parkland spoke in a panel with students from local and area high schools, who mostly discussed bullying and being kind to others.  The Parkland students emphasized the importance of voting.  The panelists did not mention guns.
   Some good news out of Washington state:

  This is the PSA on You Tube about a child wanting to use his father's gun to protect himself and his family whenever Dad isn't home. 

Following is a good explanation of the current legal status for releasing gun blueprints online following the federal court restraining order which was issued on July 31st.   Also, interesting details near the end about the efficacy of using plastic guns.

Bonnie Schaaf, First Vice President and Gun Safety Chair
LWV of LaPorte County

The League of Women Voters’ Position on Gun Safety
At the 1990 Convention of the League of Women Voters of the US, the League took the then rare step of adopting a gun control position. Debate on the Convention floor persuaded members to concur with the statement proposed by the LWV of Illinois, and to urge passage of federal legislation to control the proliferation of handguns and semi-automatic assault weapons in the United States, through letters to all members of Congress.
Since 2004, the League has had many strong concerns over major loopholes in the law, including:
the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which would grant special protection for the gun industry by barring city, county or individual lawsuits against gun manufacturers and dismiss pending cases;
the 2004 expiration of the Assault Weapons Ban;
the Gun Show Loophole,which does not require dealers to run criminal background checks at gun shows;
congressional attempts to repeal District of Columbia gun safety laws because such action interfered with the right of self-government for DC citizens; and
failure of other attempts to control gun violence, including requiring child safety locks on guns.
Now the Indiana Legislature has convened a summer study committee of the Judiciary and Public Policy Committee to study a proposal for "permitless carry," to repeal the permit requirement for carrying an open or concealed loaded weapon in public by anyone, including violent and emotionally unstable people; weapons offenders; and alcohol and drug abusers, with no background checks and no safety training.
At its first meeting on August 22nd, 2017, the committee heard testimony from the Indiana Association of Chiefs of Police, the Indiana State Fraternal Order of Police, the Indiana State Police, and the Indiana Sheriff's Association. Their unanimous opposition to the proposal was that it would make their jobs more difficult and decrease public safety.
LWVUS has adopted an extremely strong and clear position statement in favor of reasonable regulation of firearms, including a specific reference to licensing procedures (in bold, below), in our "Position on Gun Control":

  • The  League of Women Voters of the United States believes that the proliferation of handguns and semi-automatic assault weapons in the United States is a major health and safety threat to its citizens.
  •  The League supports strong federal measures to limit the accessibility and regulate the ownership of these weapons by private citizens.
  •  The League supports regulating firearms for consumer safety.
  •  The League supports licensing procedures for gun ownership by private citizens to include a waiting period for background checks, personal identity verification, gun safety education and annual license renewal. The license fee should be adequate to cover the cost of education and  verification.
  •  The League supports a ban on “Saturday night specials,” enforcement of strict penalties for the improper possession of and crimes committed with handguns and assault weapons, and allocation of resources to better regulate and monitor gun dealers."


The League of Women Voters of LaPorte County agrees.

The process in Indiana to obtain a permit to carry a handgun is not burdensome.  Filling out the online application and getting fingerprinted, combined, take about one hour.   Currently, public safety officials deny handgun carry permits to people who have a propensity for violent or emotionally unstable conduct, alcohol and drug abusers, and those who have been convicted of certain weapons offenses.   Repealing the permit requirement would strip public safety officials of this authority, and allow these dangerous people to legally carry loaded handguns in public.  
The repeal of this law will not benefit the citizens of Indiana.  The vast majority of Americans, including gunowners, support laws requiring permits to carry loaded handguns in public.    In fact, thirty seven states already require permits for carrying  handguns in public.
We encourage citizens to contact your legislators on this “permitless carry” proposal.  You can find your legislators at http://iga.in.gov/legislative/find-legislators/.
For the full schedule of committee meetings, list of committee members, and agenda for the hearings, see: http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2017/committees/judiciary_and_public_policy.
Or call or write to Sen. Bray, Chair of the Joint Judiciary and Public Policy Committee’s Summer Study Committee: 317-232-9400 Email: Senator.Bray@iga.in.gov.
Your very lives may depend on it.

For more information about us, contact us at lwvlaporte@gmail.com.
Our mailing address is PO Box 9234, Michigan City, IN 46361-9234.

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