News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

September 24, 2012

STATE OF THE STATEHOUSE: Taking aim at misperceptions about gun law

INDIANAPOLIS — State Sen. Jim Tomes is a patient man. I know because I’ve witnessed his efforts to explain the reasoning behind a gun law he authored that has had some people up in arms.

Tomes has agreed to countless interviews with reporters who wanted to talk to him about Indiana’s firearms pre-emption law, which went into effect July 2011. He’s disappointed with the results. “Not once has it ever been reported accurately,” he told me last week, after patiently correcting me for a mistake I’d made in a story about how the law will impact polling places this November.

The Tomes-authored bill prohibits local governments from enacting stricter gun laws than the firearms statutes set by the state. It also did away with local gun laws that were already in place.

Tomes said his law was intended to align firearms regulations throughout Indiana. “This is a huge step to protect lawful citizens who have a right to carry firearms,” Tomes said after Gov. Mitch Daniels signed the bill into law.

“Fathers and mothers who attain a license to protect themselves and their children should not have to fear being in jeopardy of violating a huge patchwork of firearms rules that are outside of state code and statutes.”

It didn’t go down that easy. Some local officials were infuriated that the law nullified ordinances that banned firearms in public places.

“Some people imagined that we were going to have people shooting up libraries and parks,” Tomes told me last week. “And that just hasn’t happened.”

Tomes has taken some tough hits in the press. I’ve written about the law (at least one time with error) but failed to tell readers about Tomes: That he’s a Vietnam War veteran (having served with the much-storied 101st Airborne Division), that he’s a former Teamster union steward, that he’s active in his local church, and that he and his wife of 42 years have three grown children – including one who’s in law enforcement and another in the National Guard.

Tomes’ beliefs about guns are rooted in the Bill of Rights. He wonders why journalists seem quick to protect their First Amendment right to a free press, but seem so dismissive of his Second Amendment right to bear arms. If he had do a count, he thinks he’d find a lot more scary gun stories, he said, than stories “about people who’ve used guns responsibly to protect themselves or their loved ones.”

So Tomes patiently counsels gun owners to be mindful of that. His law protects the rights of legal, licensed gun owners in Indiana to openly display their firearms in public places – including some polling places this November.

But it’s not what he advises – not by a long shot.

Two reasons why:

First, he worries it would make them a target. “If somebody comes in with a gun intending to harm people, who do you think he’s going to shoot first?” Tomes said.

Second, because many people just aren’t accustomed to the sight of gun. “It’s common courtesy to keep them concealed,” he said, “as to not excite unnecessary fear.”

That’s a courtesy, he said, his law won’t undo. “Most legal firearms carriers are responsible enough to extend this courtesy to fellow Hoosiers, carrying their firearms concealed as a demonstration of respect.”

Maureen Hayden is the Indiana Statehouse bureau chief for CNHI, the parent company of the Tribune-Star. She can be reached at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local & Bistate
Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Passengers Abuzz After Plane Hits Swarm of Bees Hundreds Missing After South Korean Ferry Sinks Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Raw: Ferry Sinks Off South Korean Coast Disbanding Muslim Surveillance Draws Praise Pistorius Trial: Adjourned Until May 5 Diaz Gets Physical for New Comedy Raw: Fatal Ferry Boat Accident Freeze Leaves Florida Panhandle With Dead Trees Miley Cyrus Still in Hospital, Cancels 2nd Show Are School Dress Codes Too Strict? New York Auto Show Highlights Latest in Car Tech Town, Victims Remember Texas Blast Raw: Three Rare White Tiger Cubs Debut at Zoo New York Auto Show Highlights Latest in Car Tech Pope's Relic on Wheels Departs to Rome Raw: Urinator Causes Portland to Flush Reservoir At Boston Marathon, a Chance to Finally Finish Raw: Storm Topples RVs Near Miss. Gulf Coast Suspicious Bags Found Near Marathon Finish Line
NDN Video
Jenny McCarthy Engaged to "New Kid" Kate and Will Land in Oz Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Bay Area Teen Gets Prom Date With Help From 'Breaking Bad' Star Behind The Tanlines Jersey Strong Part 1 WATCH: Women Fight To Marry Prince Harry! O’Reilly Launches Preemptive Strike Against CBS Pixar Unveils Easter Eggs From its Biggest Movies Baby Sloths Squeak for Their Cuddle Partners in Adorable Video Miley Cyrus Hospitalized After Severe Reaction To Medicine Raw: Ferry Sinks Off South Korean Coast Toddler climbs into vending machine 8-year-old Boy Gets His Wish: Fly Like Iron Man Much-Anticipated 'Gone Girl' Trailer Finally Debuts! (VIDEO) Dog and Toddler Wear Matching Outfits in Adorable Photo Series VP Biden: "World witnesses ordinary citizens doing extraordinary things" It's Official! Michael Strahan Joins "GMA" Blood Moon Time-lapse Actress Lake Bell Goes Topless The Five Weirdest Local Taxes in America
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity