Commentary: Try using common sense on guns

By Rep. Linda Lawson
TheStatehouseFile.com

I remember my first domestic violence case as a young officer on the Hammond Police Department. My partner and I went out on the call and had to contact our sergeant and lieutenant for advice. 

Rep. Linda Lawson, D-Hammond, is a member of the Indiana House of Representatives.

The scene was shocking and absolutely vicious. Children were in the home as well as other family members. And the wife was badly beaten and traumatized, broken and bloodied.  

The Indiana General Assembly passed a law this session that will allow women to carry a handgun without a license, if they are issued a civil protection order. This legislation requires no training for these women. Women will go uninformed on how to load a gun or secure it properly in the home.
While gun right activists claim a gun will protect a woman in a domestic abuse situation, they fail to mention the increased likelihood of a woman getting killed in a domestic violence situation when a gun is present. In fact, the risk of homicide increases 500% in a home in which there is active domestic violence abuse AND a gun. In 2016, 71% of domestic violence fatalities in Indiana were caused by firearm violence. From 2001-2012, 6,410 women were murdered in the United States by an intimate partner using a gun – more than the total number of U.S. troops killed in action during the entirety of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined.
These numbers are something we cannot ignore.
This bill, which will go into effect July 1, is nothing less than the NRA’s plan to arm our nation.  The Indiana Coalition against Domestic Violence testified against the bill in committee. Gun right activists and retailers were the only ones to testify in support of the legislation. It passed the committee 8-4 and the House 72-26.
The question arises whether the Legislature is giving permission to abused women to shoot their partners, because right now 30 women are serving time in prison for killing their partner after defending themselves from domestic abuse. The General Assembly is willing to incarcerate these women, while giving them a gun to use. That doesn’t make sense. There has to be a better way. One thing I know is that guns are not the answer. 
Having said the above, psychological impacts are important to note. Domestic violence victims love their partners. Even after enduring pain and abuse for months, it is not easy for a woman to pull the trigger on her husband, partner, or father of her children.  
Arming anyone in a fragile home endangers everyone involved, especially those whom the bill intends to arm for protection. While I appreciate the legislative concern for domestic abuse victims, let’s use some common sense and enact policies that benefit the victims, not the NRA and their gun manufacturer donors.
Rep. Linda Lawson, D-Hammond, is a member of the Indiana House of Representatives.
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2 Responses to Commentary: Try using common sense on guns

  1. Connie Needler

    I am a victim of DV. Although I’m glad this bill is going into effect, I understand what she is saying. Maybe we should check into giving free lessons on gun safety and on ways to protect ourselves.

  2. With all due respect to Representative Lawson, one of the glaring omissions that she is neglecting to recognize is our Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. As a former police officer and elected representative, she swore an oath to support, protect and defend both our federal and state Constitutions, regardless of her feelings.
    The law she references applies to women that PERSONALLY CHOOSE the best means of protecting themselves and children and it is dangerously oppressive, arrogant and condescending to think that women aren’t able to make these decisions.
    Of course, with rights come responsibilities, and we must find ways to encourage responsible gun ownership. Last year, I introduced a bill that provided a state income tax credit for any Hoosier that completed a firearms safety course. These measures, along with encouraging and helping educate people how to exercise their Constitutionally protected rights, is what government should be doing and not infringing those rights!