Goshen News, Goshen, IN

April 19, 2014

OUR VIEW: Little reason to fear new firearms law

Goshen News

---- — 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.

As for the impact of the reworked statute, we don’t foresee much.

Thanks to the Second Amendment, firearms and gun ownership are pervasive in American culture. Law-abiding people have a right to have guns, like it or not.

Under the revised law, gun owners must be legally able to possess a firearm. These are people who have been vetted by the Indiana State Police. While this isn’t a fail-safe against their potential criminal acts, it’s the best route we’ve got.

PUT ANOTHER WAY, the people now allowed to have guns in vehicles on school grounds are Indiana’s best and safest options as far as packing weapons.

The dangerous individuals with guns bent on chaos and carnage at a school? Sad to say, but they don’t care a whit about state law in the first place.

Our governor has endorsed a measure that’s hardly a game-changer in terms of guns and public safety. That said, the new law is reasonable enough, and provides an extra level of protection for Indiana’s responsible gun-owning and transporting populace.

Folks, just remember to keep them locked up.