A primer for Indiana students organizing or participating in March For Our Lives on March 24.
Letter to Indy Star March 5, 2018)
Don’t let anyone tell you that it isn’t the laws that are the problem and that AR-15 assault style weapons are protected by the Second Amendment.
Six states and the District of Columbia have banned assault style weapons and large capacity magazines. The Supreme Court recently rejected a challenge to a ban on these assault style weapons, leaving in place the lower courts decision that such a ban is permissible under the Second Amendment.
Laws that provide legal access to firearms by individuals under age 21 increase the risk of school shootings. Most school shootings involve an individual who is a student at the school or a former student.
Federal law only requires a background check by a federally licensed firearm dealer (FFL). An individual who has been declined due to a background check can purchase the firearm from a private seller at a gun show in Indiana. Private sellers in Indiana legally sell all types of firearms, including AR-15 style assault weapons, to individuals age 18 and over without a background check. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have totally or partially closed this private seller loophole.
Indiana will issue a license to carry a firearm in public to individuals age 18 and over subject to a background check. Most states restrict these licenses to age 21 and over.
Studies show that states with the weakest gun laws have the highest rate of gun deaths.
President, Hoosiers Concerned About Gun Violence
Sen. Donnelly should vote against ‘constitutional carry
Letter to Indy Star dtd 1/2/2018
There is nothing moderate about the bill to force all states to accept concealed carry permits of other states. This is a radical departure from the doctrine of states’ rights and the last 200 years in which the ability of states and localities to put limits on what weapons can be carried has been recognized by the courts.
There is no “constitutional right” to carry a concealed weapon. This was made explicitly clear in the Heller decision by Justice Antonin Scalia writing for the court majority. The gun lobby is well aware of this and is pushing this law as a way to amend the Constitution in the legislature and take away states’ rights. The propaganda cry of “constitutional carry” was heard repeatedly in the state legislature in the effort to remove licensing requirements for concealed carry.
In states that have removed licensing of concealed carry, there have been increases in firearm injuries and aggravated assault. There have not been decreases in crime traced back to this change in law. Indianapolis is struggling to control firearm violence and is hampered by the easy access to firearms by felons thanks to weak state and no local regulation of the gun market. This bill, like the proposed state bill, will only make this harder. New York City, which has sensible gun regulation, has a homicide rate one-eighth that of Indianapolis, and can expect that rate to increase if this law passes and opens new gates for illegal guns to flow into the city.
Sen. Joe Donnelly is indeed a moderate, and he should resist this attempt to rewrite the constitution and strip away state’s rights to the detriment of public safety and for the benefit of the gun industry.
Stephen R. Dunlop, MD
Board Member, Hoosiers Concerned About Gun Violence Indianapolis