INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, part of Everytown for Gun Safety, today released the following statement after the Indiana House of Representatives passed legislation that would roll back state law to allow civilians to carry loaded handguns throughout Indiana’s K-12 schools. The bill, SB 119, now moves back to the Senate.
“All of us want to protect Indiana’s schools,” said Rachel Guglielmo, volunteer leader with the Indiana chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “But the truth is that rolling back our public safety laws will only create new risks for our students and the school community. There are evidence-based ways to keep schools safe, and this isn’t one of them.”
Under current Indiana law, generally only trained law enforcement and security officers can carry guns in elementary, middle, and high schools. SB 119 would open a broad exception for houses of worship located on school premises, allowing people present at a school “in connection with” a worship service or religious ceremony, or working or volunteering at a house of worship located at the school, to carry a loaded handgun anywhere on the school’s premises. Under SB 119, certain elementary, middle, and high schools could even be forced to allow civilians to carry loaded handguns on school premises, regardless of the judgment of school administrators and safety professionals.
In February, Everytown and the country’s two largest teachers unions released recommendations for preventing gun violence in American schools, including:
- Policies proven to help keep guns away from people who shouldn’t have them in the first place, such as responsible firearm storage laws, laws that raise the age to purchase semiautomatic firearms and requiring background checks on all gun sales;
- Improving the physical security of schools with proven tactics like installing internal locks and limiting the number of entry points and who can enter schools;
- Supporting the health of students by creating safe and equitable schools and by providing more counselors to help increase mental health services and social-emotional support in schools; and
- Intervention strategies that can be implemented by school districts, including threat assessment programs that train educators how to safely and effectively intervene when there are signs that a student is in crisis or poses a risk.