INDIANAPOLIS – With members of Congress home on August recess, the nation’s focus has turned to last weekend’s deadly mass shootings which have reignited the debate over gun control.
Indiana lawmakers spoke with the media at various events in recent days, sharing their thoughts on the tragedies in Dayton and El Paso and their differing views on the gun control debate.
Both of Indiana’s senators expressed a willingness to support a national ‘red flag’ law, and suggested they may be willing to look at the issue of expanded background checks, though both Republican senators stopped short of calling for universal background checks.
“I think Indiana’s done a good job with respect to our red flag law, that’s something that needs to be part of the conversation moving forward,” said Sen. Todd Young (R-IN).
“Background checks and red flag laws need to be looked at generally,” said Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN). “If it’s universal, I’m probably going to have trouble doing that, but I think you need to strengthen background checks so that they’re better at keeping guns out of the hands of people who are going to use them for the wrong reason.”
Gov. Eric Holcomb also touted the state’s ‘red flag’ law, known as the Jake Laird Law. Since the law was passed in 2005, it has been used more than 700 times in Indianapolis.
“It always takes a tragedy for people to start talking again about things,” said Mike Laird, whose son Jake was shot and killed in the line of duty in 2004.
“He wanted to protect people, and he gave his life up for doing that,” said Laird.
The law allows officers in Indiana to temporarily take guns away from someone if they find probable cause that the person may hurt themselves or others.
The courts then decide whether the owner gets their guns back.
“Will it work 100% of the time? I’m not going to mislead you, but it does work,” said Gov. Holcomb.
Many people, including President Trump, are calling for the expansion of these kinds of laws. Indiana Congresswoman Susan Brooks wrote legislation earlier this year, called the Jake Laird Act, which provides grant money to states who choose to enact them.
While much of the focus since last weekend’s shootings has centered on gun legislation, many have also been critical of President Trump and his anti-immigrant rhetoric, including Rep. Andre Carson.
“We’ve heard inflammatory remarks coming from the administration, and I think for us, we have to get serious,” said Carson.