Democratic lawmaker says Howell case illustrates need for tougher gun laws in Indiana

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — An outspoken democrat at the Indiana statehouse is calling for tougher gun laws in the state.

The lawmaker says the case of Indiana native James Howell illustrates the need for tighter gun controls. State Rep. Ed Delaney says he’ll introduce three specific gun control measures during the next legislative session.

Those restrictions include restricting access to military-style weapons, banning high-capacity magazines and implementing universal background checks.

“The ordinary Republican voter and Republican lawmaker have got to say, ‘enough death,’” said Delaney.

Delaney says the case of Howell also shows an utter failure of the system to enforce current laws despite obvious warning signs.

“Every step of the way we blew it,” said Delaney.

California police arrested Howell this month as the suspect drove to a gay pride parade with an arsenal of weapons in his car.

That came despite the State of Indiana ordering Howell to surrender all his weapons following a criminal conviction in April.

“If his probation officer didn’t make sure he was in compliance, then that’s a breakdown in the performance on the system.  It’s not a need for any new legislation,” said gun rights advocate Guy Relford.

Relford agrees the system may have failed in the Howell case, and supports enforcing current laws, but says passing new gun control measures will be a tough sell in the statehouse, and the governor agrees.

“I just believe that firearms in the hands of law abiding citizens makes our communities more safe, not less safe,” said Governor Mike Pence.

“I wouldn’t be too optimistic if I were proposing significant gun control measures in Indiana,” said Relford.

“My Republican friends have got to decide that protecting the majority of people is more important than protecting their majority in the House,” said Delaney.

Delaney also wants more money put into the state’s probation system, making it easier to report violations.

He says that may have helped in the Howell case. The next legislative session kicks off in January.

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