At a recent legislative update in Bloomington, a local GOP state representative downplayed the effect these bills would have. He said that guns are already allowed in Indiana schools if a school corporation okays it—that HB 1253 just ensures that any teacher carrying will have training. About HB 1643, which would allow guns on school grounds if the school is co-located with a church facility, he said it would be up to the school. We talked with Rachel Guglielmo, a leader with Moms Demand Action in Indiana, to get more information.
ICPE–Monroe County: How bad are the gun bills, HB 1253 and HB 1643?
Rachel Guglielmo: These bills are a big deal; they represent the latest steps in a steady march to dismantle existing gun safety regulations and protections; with these two bills, the aim is to remove or loosen prohibitions on guns in school settings. This week, the Senate also voted to advance a bill —HB 1284—that will expand Indiana’s existing “Stand Your Ground” legislation to provide civil immunity for people who claim they were shooting someone in self-defense.
[The legislator is] being disingenuous about the intent and impact of both of these bills. Right now, you CANNOT carry a gun onto school grounds, period, and where a church has a school attached to it, you cannot carry a gun anywhere on the premises. HB 1643 changes that—if it passes, the default setting will be that guns ARE permitted in church schools—even daycares—unless the church or school specifically prohibits this. And the burden will be on these churches and schools to enforce that prohibition. Much different. Big change.
Allowing public funds to provide handgun training for teachers (HB 1253) sends a message that this is an advisable/acceptable method for enhancing school security, which it is not. There is no evidence to support this policy, and quite a bit of evidence to show that arming teachers/school staff introduces significant safety risks rather than reducing them, which is why school safety experts and law enforcement—not to mention all state and national teachers' associations—oppose the policy.
HB 1253 now includes an amendment that will allow teachers to agree to be shot at with projectiles during active shooter drills.
Action people can take to oppose both bills: call or email Senator Rodric Bray, President pro Tempore of the Senate, and ask him to oppose all policies that introduce or incentivize guns into school settings.
Phone: 800-382-9467 or 317-232-9400
Legislative Assistant: Kayla Caviness, Phone: 317-232-9416, Email: Kayla.Caviness@iga.in.gov
P.S. This is a useful resource—it examines whether even armed resource guards are effective in stopping school shootings—let along teachers.