Ending licensing isn’t the answer

(Anderson) Herald Bulletin

Americans have been begging for solutions in solving the crisis of gun violence.

One of the groups seeks quick answers. Others want thoughtful approaches.

There’s apparently one faction that wants a Wild West mentality where anyone can carry a handgun with no license needed.

That’s not the right answer; it’s unsafe and reckless.

A bill to eliminate the state’s system for licensing handguns has been authored by state Rep. Jim Lucas, R-Seymour, a firm believer in the right to bear arms, according to his campaign website. The bill would repeal Indiana’s law requiring Hoosiers to get a state license to carry a handgun.

Lucas also has authored a bill that would allow guns on state university campuses — an absurd proposal when state colleges should do as much as they can to keep guns off their properties and keep students safe.

Regarding his no-license bill, there can be at least two considerations but one conclusion.

The first is based on a gut-driven reaction where there needs to be quick solutions to end gun violence: Ban handguns or make them accessible to all.

The other approach is to let the legislative process work. Legislators debate the issues and come up with negotiated laws. Those sometimes seem driven by politics and as not going far enough to truly resolve the crisis.

Lucas’ proposal is one man’s gut reaction, driven by his personal views on the Second Amendment. Just by offering a solution, Lucas is straddling the two approaches.

Maybe his proposal should get a hearing in its General Assembly committee. Maybe it can lead to negotiated solutions.

Those discussions need to include talk of the loss of $5 million to the state’s general fund collected from handgun license fees. Excess funds are transferred to the operation of the Indiana State Police’s records division. Of course, without the need for keeping license records, the staffing will likely go down at ISP.

But licenses help track felons and the handguns they use in crimes. Licensing is a needed process in crime fighting and investigation.

The fact that one legislator is aiming for a solution is a positive sign. But like so many answers offered, eliminating handgun licensing isn’t the path that a law-abiding community wants in ending violence.

This was distributed by Hoosier Press Association. Send comments to awoods@tribtown.com.