House OK’s Measure to Allow Guns on School Grounds

Controversial legislation that would allow guns in vehicles on school grounds passed the Indiana House late Monday. It’s currently a felony to bring a gun onto school property, but Senate Bill 229 would allow those with proper carry permits to keep firearms out of sight in vehicles on school grounds. Nicki McNally with the Indiana Chapter of Moms Demand Action on Gun Violence says she’s disappointed and hopes some of the issues can be clarified in conference committee.

“There’s still a chance that we can get things changed or make it a little bit more tolerable. This is something the schools don’t want, so the Legislature is going to have to listen to that eventually,” McNally said.

The bill also will allow individuals to carry guns to off-campus school functions. McNally says the measure is dangerous because it will increase the risk of a gun-related incident. Supporters say it allows those who legally carry guns for self-protection to do so without committing a crime.

McNally says the bill also needs clarification on whether bus drivers can carry a firearm while transporting students.

“There’s no definition of ‘bus’ in the bill, it only refers to motor vehicles, so it sort of opens that window and that language really needs to be clarified. I think most people, even gun owners, would not want their bus driver having a gun on the bus,” McNally said.

McNally says the bill also prohibits schools from adopting policies related to firearms on school buses or in school parking lots.

“So it’s completely trumping their ability to decide what’s best for them as a school or as a school district across the state. That’s a big thing given that every school is different, every area is different, and this does not give them any choice in the matter,” McNally said.