Lucas’ gun bills problematic

Two bills being pushed by state Rep. Jim Lucas, R-Seymour, in the Indiana Legislature would eliminate licensing for carrying concealed weapons and allow guns on state-funded properties such as public school campuses.

He said the measures, House Bills 1055 and 1056, would allow people to better defend themselves, and that he wants anyone who is lawfully permitted to carry a firearm to not be prohibited from doing so.

However, these bills would potentially put more children and adults at greater risk to harm.

Indiana University has stated that allowing guns on campus would unnecessarily increase the risk to its students.

Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp.’s top administrators don’t feel that educators untrained in all the aspects of active-shooter and other police specialty training should be handling firearms, even in an emergency situation. That should be left to trained professionals, they have said.

We agree with both schools.

Bartholomew Consolidated put police officers in its local schools at the beginning of 2014, with financial support from a $50,000 matching grant from the state — a program that has since been extended.

The school district’s agreement with Columbus Police Department is a good use of local resources to help ensure the safety of students and teachers by trained professionals.

Lucas contends that if people were educated in the safe use of firearms, an increase in gun-related crimes wouldn’t happen.

The problem with Lucas’ statement is that all gun owners don’t get such training. Having untrained people carrying firearms doesn’t necessarily increase safety.

It’s simply better to have trained professionals such as the police carrying guns in school rather than anyone else.

Eliminating licensing under Lucas’ bill also doesn’t roll back any undue burden for gun owners.

The U.S. Constitution gives people the right to bear arms under the Second Amendment. We strongly support that right, but also believe that is not being infringed upon and that some protections are important.

Current laws for gun ownership simply weed out those who clearly have no business owning a firearm:

Convicted felons

People with domestic violence convictions

Those who have been committed to a mental hospital

People without these past problems may own a firearm if they so choose.

It’s not unreasonable to ask people to follow a few requirements to obtain a license considering what they want to own can be used in a lethal manner.

Current state licensing for a handgun requires that people:

Fill out an application form and pay an application fee with a local law enforcement agency

Be fingerprinted

Be subject to a final review by the Indiana State Police superintendent

That process, on top of the federal background check a licensed gun dealer is required to perform, serves as a reasonable effort to ensure only those who should legally have guns are carrying them. House Bill 1056 would strip away a layer of protection.

No liberties are being jeopardized with Indiana’s gun laws as they now stand.