Proposal to allow guns in school parking lots reintroduced at Statehouse

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A committee of lawmakers has approved a provision which would allow licensed gun owners to take their guns onto school property, as long as it’s locked away in the trunk of their car. The provision, which failed earlier this year, was added into another bill dealing with gun buyback programs, Senate Bill 229.

The bill, and the new language regarding guns on school property, passed the House Public Policy committee by a vote of 8-2 on Tuesday.

“Because of the gray areas when somebody’s completely innocent and locks their firearm in their car, they end up in a situation where they commit a felony unknowingly,” said Charlie Hiltunen of the Indiana State Rifle and Pistol Association.

But a group of local moms feels differently.

“As a mother, I oppose allowing guns in vehicles on school property,” said Nicki McNally, who leads the Indiana chapter of a group called Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

“I do (understand their concerns), but part of this is we have to work really hard on educating these people,” said the author of the proposal, Rep. Jim Lucas, R-Seymour. “We have to stick with facts and not emotion.”

The bill would not permit students to bring guns onto school property, unless they were part of a shooting team or club and got special permission to do so.

“We want our children safe,” said McNally. “We don’t feel like our children are safe in schools and allowing guns in the parking lot on school property, it’s one step further in inviting an accident to happen.”

The amended bill now goes to the full House. Because it has been changed to include the new language, it will also have to be approved by the Senate, or go to a conference committee to iron out the differences.

Lawmakers have until March 14 to complete their work for this year’s session.