INDIANAPOLIS — The debate of guns on school property led to a contentious conference committee meeting in the Statehouse Monday.
Senate Bill 229, which was originally about gun buyback programs for arms confiscated by law enforcement officials, has morphed into a debate between school safety and Second Amendment rights.
A provision was added in saying it would not be a felony for someone to have a gun in a car parked on school property as long as the firearm was out of sight in a trunk or glove box. Students would not be allowed to bring guns in their cars and having firearms inside a school building would still be a felony.
The difference between the Senate and House versions of SB 229 had to be hashed out in a committee, which met Monday. Rep. Terri Austin, D-Anderson, said she was very disappointed with the behavior of some of the lawmakers on the committee.
Austin is an adviser to the committee but not an actual committee member.
“I was deeply disappointed in the behavior exhibited by some of my legislative colleagues,” Austin said. “Their tone toward some of the individuals who came to express their views was unprofessional and very disrespectful.”
Those in favor of this bill said people have the right to protect themselves with a gun on their way to and from school. They said making it a felony to have a firearm in a car on school property limits Second Amendment rights.
Austin said after all the recent violence of guns in schools, this provision is a very bad idea. She thinks having guns allowed in school parking lots would make it that much easier for guns to get inside the school buildings.
“Just last year we allocated $90 million to try and make schools safer,” Austin said. “To what end?”