Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Opinion

April 19, 2014

OUR VIEW: Little reason to fear new firearms law

A change in state law has proven to be controversial. This newspaper respects the opinions of the objectors — they have concerns about public safety, a worthy focus of worry.

Still, The Goshen News sees little reason to fear.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence recently signed into law a measure allowing firearms to be stored inside locked vehicles in school parking lots. There are restrictions. Gun owners must be able to legally possess a firearm in the first place. Also, the guns must be locked in a trunk or kept in a glove compartment of a locked automobile, or stored out of plain sight.

STUDENTS, UNLESS THEY are members of a shooting club and have the permission of school officials, are still not allowed to keep firearms in their vehicles on school grounds.

The Goshen News isn’t opposed to the revised state statute. We do wonder why it’s necessary.

Supporters say changing the law protects parents who were unwittingly committing a felony by having guns in their vehicles when they pick up their children at school. Maybe that’s a valid concern. Yet while we haven’t done exhaustive research, we doubt that Indiana’s jails and prisons are brimming with absent-minded, gun-owning moms and dads.

Even before the revision, guidelines at the state and local levels protected people who have both guns and school-age children. For example, in-transit parents with a handgun in a glovebox could drop off their children at school and not be committing a felony. There was a legal problem only if they parked and exited their vehicles.

THE NEWS’ POLITICAL sense suggests the revision was less aimed at a serious problem and more a bid to woo gun owners. There’s nothing wrong with that. People with firearms are a demographic worthy of political courtship as any other.

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