The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Local News

March 27, 2013

Gun-rights lawmaker wants tougher gun penalty

INDIANAPOLIS — One of the chief sponsors of legislation that would rewrite the Indiana criminal code wants to amend the bill to add a mandatory five-year prison sentence for using a gun to commit a felony.

Republican state Sen. Brent Steele, a gun-rights advocate, said the mandatory, full five-year penalty would send a strong message to criminals that gun violence won’t be tolerated in Indiana.

“We’re sending a message to people who want to violate the law in Indiana: If you use a firearm, you will get burned for five hard years,” Steele said.

Indiana already has a law that allows a prosecutor to ramp up the charges on someone who uses a firearm to commit a felony.

Steele wants to amend House Bill 1006, now in the Senate, to change Indiana law so a prosecutor could file the gun charge separately from the related felony, and require anyone convicted of the charge to serve 100 percent of the five-year prison term that would come with it.

“There would be no probation on it, no chance of probation and if you get convicted of it, you will not get any credit time whatsoever,” Steele said. “You’re just going to have to serve those five solid years.”

Steele is the powerful chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the author of past gun-rights bills endorsed by the National Rifle Association. He’s also a key sponsor of House Bill 1006, major legislation that lessens penalties for low-level drug crimes and toughens penalties for the worst sex and violent crimes.

Steele said he was motivated in part to file the bill because of the heat that legitimate gun owners are taking in the current debate over gun control.

“I’m tired of people of using firearms in the commission of a felony, and then legitimate gun owners always taking the rap for it. The average citizen says: ‘Well, punish the criminal, not the law-abiding citizen.”

Steele said a mandatory prison term would “send a message, that we take the use of firearms seriously.”

Steele helped craft the language of House Bill 1006 that brings down penalties for low-level drug offenders, and diverts them out of prison and into local treatment programs.

Steele found out last week that Gov. Mike Pence objects to the bill and believes that lowering drug penalties sends the wrong message.

At a press briefing for TV and radio reporters last week, Pence said the legislation should be about reducing crime, not reducing penalties.

Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana. She can be reached at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • NWS - HB0528 - IREAD - JC 1.jpg Anderson IREAD-3 test results show improvement

    Two Anderson elementary schools posted double-digit increases in the percentage of third-graders who passed the IREAD-3 test last month, according to preliminary results released by school officials.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS - HB0418 - Susan Brooks Educators, agribusiness leaders discuss careers Citing approximately 55,000 new jobs being created annually in agribusiness, U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks brought educators and business leaders together to encourage students to consider it as a career path.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Woman to be sentenced again for intimidation An Anderson woman’s sentence for robbery and battery was upheld but she will be sentenced again for an intimidation charge, following a ruling Thursday by The Indiana Court of Appeals.

    April 17, 2014

  • Local Briefs: April 18 A compilation of news items of local and statewide interest as published in the Friday edition of The Herald Bulletin.

    April 17, 2014

  • NWS - HB0408 - Crash Sperrys 2 Family, friends bid farewell to Jesse Sperry

    The fussing of 10-day-old Autumn Marie Sperry seemed to coincide with the beginning of the funeral service for her father, Jesse Sperry, whose body rested just a few feet away. More than 200 friends and family members gathered at Edgewood Baptist Church this afternoon to pay their respects to Jesse, who was killed April 6 in a traffic accident on Indiana 32.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • Lapel obtains required number The Lapel Town Council finally has enough votes to move forward with its voluntary annexation of land south of the town.

    April 17, 2014

  • Students to England to raise funds at luncheon, auction On Saturday, the Students to England 2015 group will be sponsoring a luncheon and auction in the Lapel High School cafeteria/commons area.

    April 17, 2014

  • Local Briefs: April 17 A compilation of news items of local and statewide interest as published in the Thursday edition of The Herald Bulletin.

    April 17, 2014

  • Anderson collects nearly $67,000 in bad debt

    The city of Anderson collected almost $67,000 in bad debts owed to the four utility departments in March.

    April 17, 2014

  • NWS - HB0417 - election forum - 15 Candidates meet in Alexandria

    Several Madison County candidates running for a variety of offices met at Alexandria-Monroe High School Wednesday night to introduce themselves to voters and talk about some issues.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

March Staff Photos


Buy and browse more photos from The Herald Bulletin

More Resources from The Herald Bulletin
Auto Industry Book
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Facebook