By State Sen. Dennis Kruse (R-Auburn)
In the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy and other events in our country, many state and federal lawmakers are turning their attention to the issue of gun control. This is a sensitive topic because people on both sides of the issue feel there are fundamental concerns of security and public safety at stake.
The U.S. Constitution addresses the right to bear arms in the Second Amendment, which reads, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Those supporting stricter gun legislation say that this Amendment is aimed toward the militia to carry firearms, not individuals. Those opposing stricter laws argue that this amendment addresses two separate subjects, militia and the people. The Supreme Court has held that the Second Amendment protects the gun rights of individual Americans, not just members of a militia or military group.
Hoosiers’ right to bear arms is also stated in Article I, Section 32 of the Indiana Constitution, which reads, “The people shall have a right to bear arms, for the defense of themselves and the State.” As opposed to the U.S. Constitution, this article attempts to eliminate different interpretations of the language by only addressing “the people.”
Although there are numerous federal and state laws concerning gun control, there is much debate over how involved government should be in individual gun rights.
The main argument for stricter gun control is that fewer guns in society will reduce violent crime. Advocates believe that having fewer guns in the home will decrease the amount of suicides and accidents with a firearm. They also argue that if a gun is taken out of the equation in crimes such as shoplifting or theft, there will be fewer lives lost. Overall, supporters of stricter gun control believe that if fewer guns are available, all Americans will be safer.
Those opposing stricter gun control argue that guns are not the problem; people are the problem. If legislation restricts law-abiding citizens’ ability to possess a firearm for protection, criminals will still obtain guns, but their victims will be unable to defend themselves. Overall, opposition to stricter gun control rests on the belief that an unarmed public would be less safe from those without respect for human life and the law.
Indiana legislators are working hard to keep Hoosiers safe and secure. We are also ensuring that your Constitutional right to bear arms is protected. Now that you have seen both sides of the debate, I encourage you to share your thoughts on gun control. What do you think?