Indianapolis councilman to introduce resolution that looks to ban assault weapons in the city

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – City-County Councilman William “Duke” Oliver will introduce a resolution Monday night that is designed to curb the gun violence that took a toddler’s life and has fueled a record murder total in the city.

“Proposal 112 is a special resolution which urges the Indiana General Assembly to support a ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines,” said the east side Democrat. “What does the community want to do about guns and violence in our community? This is a process that will begin the process of discussion on that very issue which is guns and violence in our community. Start with the assault weapon as a starting point, not an ending point, but a starting point on qualifications, interviews, what kind of person should be allowed to obtain a weapon, background checks, etc. etc.”

Indiana law prohibits cities, towns, mayors and councils from passing their own gun ordinances, so Oliver’s plea would first need to pass out of the council, gain Mayor Joe Hogsett’s signature, and then find favor in the Republican-controlled state legislature at the other end of Market Street.

“It’s not the assault rifle but the people that have them. Let’s enforce the laws that we have on the books instead of trying to find a scapegoat,” said State Senator Jack Sandlin, a south side Republican and former city-county councilman and retired Indianapolis police commander. “I would say to Duke Oliver, let’s look at what we’re doing in Indianapolis regarding mental health services. Let’s look in Indianapolis to see what we’re prosecuting for violations of the current gun laws. Let’s do those things that will really have an impact. This won’t have any.”

One-year-old Malaysia Robson was fatally wounded when the house where she slept was riddled with 44 gunshots on the morning of March 29, according to family members.

While the type of murder weapon has not been revealed in the child’s killing, authorities in Newtown, Connecticut, Parkland, Florida, Sutherland, Texas, San Bernardino, California and Las Vegas identified assault-style rifles as the murder weapons that took dozens of lives in several recent shootings.

When Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was wounded in 2011, her assailant fired dozens of shots fed by a high-capacity magazine, the type Oliver would like to ban.

“I don’t think the argument about having a big clip on a rifle that’s in somebody’s hands legally is the issue,” said Sandlin who championed the rights of legally armed target shooters. “The fact that you can load the magazine and stand there and fire and continue to improve your accuracy, there’s nothing wrong or illegal about that.”

“Weapons including handguns are being used against one another and not against foreign invaders,” said Oliver who insisted he doesn’t want to turn his resolution ban proposal to protect Marion County residents into a Second Amendment battle. “Weapons, pistols, same thing, dumped into the community, easily accessible to those who should not have them and they’re using them.”

A year from now, the National Rifle Association will hold its annual conference in Indianapolis, a convention that brought 75,000 people through the doors of the Indiana Convention Center four years ago and left a $55 million impact on the city’s economy.

Some critics in Dallas, home of this year’s conference in early May, have called upon that city to rescind its invitation to the NRA in the wake of the Parkland shootings which claimed 17 lives.

When asked if Indianapolis should rethink its commitment to the NRA for 2019, Mayor Hogsett deferred to his staff which reiterated the “Free Speech Zone” which will be set aside near the convention center for protests.

Oliver said he would ask fellow Democrats during their Monday night caucus to consider their position regarding next year’s NRA convention.

Sandlin said the recent downtown rally against gun violence convinced him and fellow Republicans that the right to bear arms is under attack and therefore a counter-rally in favor of the Second Amendment will be held at the statehouse April 14.

“I think people are concerned about what’s been going on around the country and the fact that the Democrats are trying to use the Second Amendment rallies that we’ve seen around the country to drive a wedge to drive the election.”

Speakers at the Anti-Gun Violence rally March 24 pledged that they weren’t against legal gun ownership but rather gun crimes.