Jun 21, 2023

Gun safety bill's passage proves together we can make Indiana safer

As a captain at the Marion County Sheriff's Office, I and my colleagues have seen firsthand the devastating effects of gun violence in our communities. Every day, law enforcement officers across our state put their lives on the line to serve and protect Hoosiers, and we know all too well the destructive power of firearms when they fall into the wrong hands.

That is why I am proud to see my bill, which revises the definition of a machine gun and targets dangerous gun modifications, become law. The passage of House Bill (HB) 1365 is an example of what can happen when Republicans and Democrats work together to save lives and prevent tragedies, and I am grateful to my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for their support.

For far too long, the issue of gun violence has been politicized, and it has become challenging to have productive conversations about how to address it. But bullets don’t know if the people they rip through are Rs or Ds, and shooters don’t often ask your party affiliation before pulling the trigger.

Even before entering politics or public safety, I have always believed that gun violence is a complex issue that requires a multifaceted approach. We need to address everything from mental health to access to firearms for those who shouldn’t have them, and we need to do so in a way that protects Hoosiers and their constitutional rights.

Gun control:'Outgunned': Holcomb signs bill targeting devices that turn handguns into 'machine guns'

I know the horror of a mass shooting happening in your backyard. A deadly shooting in Beech Grove last summer shook me and our community to our core. Happening right on the heels of another mass shooting at the Greenwood Park Mall, it gave truth to the terrifying notion that no neighborhood is immune to gun violence. With the passage of HB 1365, we have shown that when we put our differences aside, work together and stop relying on a false slippery slope argument to kill any meaningful discussion, we can pass practical legislation that will make our communities safer.

My bill targets machine gun conversion devices, sometimes known as “Glock switches,” which are dangerous modifications that can turn a semi-automatic firearm into a fully automatic weapon. Already prohibited on a federal level, these devices can be easily made on a 3D printer and allow a shooter to fire off dozens of rounds in just a matter of seconds. These devices, which can make an already dire situation infinitely more deadly, have been used in Indianapolis shootings several times this year alone. When police respond to these incidents, they are literally being outgunned. These modifications have no place in our communities, and their sale and possession should be illegal.

Gun safety:'Outgunned': Holcomb signs bill targeting devices that turn handguns into 'machine guns'

The significance of passing a piece of bipartisan gun legislation in Indiana is not lost on me. It’s important to me ­— as it is for many of my colleagues — that any gun laws we pass in the General Assembly promote public safety without infringing on the rights of lawful and responsible gun owners. This bill makes our streets safer without remotely trampling on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens. It should serve as a shining example of what can happen when Democrats and Republicans take off their partisan blinders and work together to benefit our constituents.

House Bill 1365 is just one step in our ongoing efforts to enhance public safety throughout the state and will hopefully help continue the downward trend we are seeing in homicides and non-fatal shootings. While there is no law we can pass that will ease the pain of those who have been impacted by gun violence, my own family included, we have the ability to prevent future tragedies. As a lawmaker, but more importantly, as a father, I’m determined to make the city my daughter grows up in is as safe as possible. Working to get machine gun switches off our streets is a step in the right direction. Now, what’s next?

State Rep. Mitch Gore, District 89, is a father and captain with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.

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