Yes, firearms do matter to worried students

Local students, professors and representatives share their thoughts on Indiana House Bill 1369


Photo obtained from Adobe Stock.

Caleb Stultz, Staff Reporter

Garrett Lane, a journalism student at IU Southeast, has been a gun owner for over a year. When a family he knew was shot and robbed while eating in their vehicle, he said he wondered how it would be different if he were in that situation.

Indiana’s House of Representatives has now voted to pass HB1369, which is about firearms matters. It will eliminate handgun carry licenses in Indiana. 

Students at IUS have mixed feelings about the issue. 

“I think it’s going to lead to more dangerous situations,” Gwen Chaleunphonh, a sophomore secondary education student, said.

Indiana HB1369 will eliminate handgun licenses in Indiana. This will cost the state of Indiana $5.3 million in revenue and $3.5 million in police training. Research suggests that this will also make Hoosiers more unsafe, according to The British Medical Journal.

How Hoosiers Deal with Guns in Indiana

Lane said two of the people he knew that were shot and robbed were in “critical condition” but they lived. He also said when he got his handgun and his license to carry, there were robberies happening where he currently lives and he wanted to make sure he could protect his family.

Firearm-related violence is nothing new in Indiana. On average, 931 Hoosiers die by guns in Indiana. That is the 19th highest gun death rate in the United States. 

Lane said obtaining a license to carry a handgun was “hilarious” about how easy it was. Indiana does not administer psychological background tests before giving handgun carrying licenses to those who request them.

“You just answer online questions stating you don’t plan to use the gun to kill anyone,” said Lane. “If anything, Indiana should have made the screening process harder rather than just allowing anyone to carry.”

The “Right to Carry” Does Not Always Lead to the Right to Freedom

Eliminating concealed carry laws leads to an increase in violent crime of 13-15% over the course of a decade, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research. States that adopt right-to-carry laws would also need to roughly double its prison population to “offset the increase in violent crime caused” by the adoption of these laws.

Amber Sneed, a sophomore majoring in psychology, said she does not understand why lawmakers in Indiana would pass the bill. 

“I think a permit should be necessary to be able to carry,” said Sneed. “That allows for background checks and to create some sense of order when it comes to carrying a gun.”

Lawmakers passed the bill with a vote of 65-31 in favor of the bill. It will now go to the Senate for review.

Rep. Ed Clere, who represents New Albany and the 72nd district in the Indiana House of Representatives and is an alumnus of IUS, voted to pass the bill. He said the bill will not affect the federal background check needed to own a firearm. 

William Farrell, a criminal justice professor at IUS, said there has not been enough time to study the effects of a bill like this. He also said the number of accidental gun deaths would increase because less people would be required to train with their weapons.

“In general, criminological research does not show any correlation between increases in gun ownership and a decline in crime,” said Farrell. “Rather, when more people carry guns in public, violent crime increases.”

Lane wanted to protect his family when it mattered the most. However, he said eliminating gun licenses will not help him do that.

“This will not help the gun abuse that is going on,” said Lane. “People are getting guns who don’t need them.”