INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.- Hoosier families who know the pain of gun violence say Indiana needs more common-sense gun laws, as they put it. That was their push Monday morning at the Statehouse, but not all lawmakers agree with them.
Five years ago, DeAndra Dycus’s 13-year-old son DeAndre was shot and paralyzed at a birthday party.
“It feels like we’ve been on this journey for ten or fifteen years,” said Dycus.
Monday morning, that journey brought her to the Statehouse where she urged lawmakers to tighten up access to firearms, but not take them away.
“We want gun sense,” said Dycus, “not gun control.”
Lawmakers who are also pushing the measures say many Hoosiers agree with them.
“We have some great polling data that shows that most Hoosiers, on both sides of the aisle, support the most common-sense measures,” said State Rep. Carey Hamilton (D-Indianapolis).
Supporters during Monday’s rally want to close the so-called gun show loophole and make it so anyone buying a gun would have to get a background check. They also want to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. They also support easier access to gun permits as a way of better knowing who owns or buys a firearm.
“If we can start to have a dialogue on the house floor, where both sides talk about the issue, and maybe not even a vote this first year, that would be a start,” said Hamilton.
But strong opposition is making those efforts unlikely to pan out.
“None of those will stop anything,” said State Rep. Jim Lucas (R-Seymour), “you know they’re implying that perfect is obtainable here and it’s not.”
Gun rights advocates say limiting access to firearms not only undermines Hoosiers’ rights, but also makes others less safe.
“Now what we need to do is quit disarming innocent people and making it more difficult for them to defend themselves,” said Lucas.
But some, like Dycus, say anything is worth a shot.
“Why not try it?” said Dycus, “we have seat belt laws, you have to have a license to hunt…so why not have gun sense?”
For as much as the supporters of these bills would like to get them heard this legislative session, they admit that isn’t likely to happen.