The Indiana chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, released the following statement after Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb signed House Bill 1292 into law, which would expand access to supportive funds for victims and their family members who have experienced violent crime, including gun violence. The Indiana House of Representatives and Senate unanimously passed House Bill 1292 earlier in the legislative process.
“I know firsthand that the trauma of gun violence doesn’t just end when the shooting stops. This bill will make a real impact for families like mine by giving survivors of gun violence and their loved ones much needed financial support and access to services to help heal from physical and emotional trauma,” said Kathleen Helbing, a volunteer with the Indiana chapter of Moms Demand Action and survivor of gun violence. “We’re grateful that Governor Holcomb signed this important bill into law. This action was step one and to stand up for survivors like me and others in Indiana, he must now veto the permitless carry bill on his desk.”
Victim compensation funds are a vital resource for survivors of gun violence, but legislative barriers exist that limit access to these funds. House Bill 1292 would address some of these barriers by expanding who is eligible to apply for financial reimbursement, expanding the types of expenses for which survivors can seek reimbursement, and expanding the definition of “cooperation with law enforcement” in certain situations.
Still sitting on Governor Holcomb’s desk is HB 1296, a permitless carry bill that would eliminate Indiana’s permit requirement for carrying a handgun in public into law which has received widespread criticism from law enforcement. Indiana lawmakers were only able to advance the bill by circumventing the normal legislative process and replaced language in HB 1296, a completely unrelated bill, with permitless carry language during a conference committee —without hearing testimony from the bill’s many opponents, including law enforcement officers and concerned citizens.