GUEST COMMENTARY: Gun buy-back legislation offers best practices

2014-01-31T00:00:00Z GUEST COMMENTARY: Gun buy-back legislation offers best practicesBy Jim Tomes nwitimes.com
January 31, 2014 12:00 am  • 

I was disappointed to read Rich James' recent column, “Sen. Tomes pistol-whips gun control.” His column was rife with error and made attacks on my personal character. It’s discouraging that this type of reporting passes as journalism today.

Though I’m hesitant to dignify his comments with a response, I want to make sure you get the correct facts.

In regard to James' claim that I authored legislation “allowing all Hoosiers to carry a concealed handgun without a license,” this is simply not true. Senate Bill 506, which I authored in 2011, would have allowed only qualified gun owners to carry concealed firearms in limited circumstances, consistent with our 2nd Amendment rights.

Also, by no means did I sponsor legislation “requiring all public school teachers to recite the Lord's Prayer on a daily basis.” My legislation would have allowed — not required — teachers and students to recite this prayer in the classroom because I believe it should be up to the local school communities to decide what’s best for its students. It also included a clear opt-out provision for students who did not wish to participate.

Furthermore, the reason I am sponsoring Senate Bill 229 this year is because it makes sense financially. It was certainly not driven by any organization. So again James' assumptions are inaccurate.

Local law enforcement agencies waste money buying firearms, and then selling them for scrap or having them destroyed. To me and my colleagues who supported this bill, it makes more sense for law enforcement to sell these guns to people lawfully allowed to own them and get back what these firearms are actually worth.

This bill is a best practice model that would benefit all involved parties. It’s a win-win for law enforcement agencies, who could use extra revenue, and for responsible gun owners.

Though these distinctions I've pointed out may seem small, they dramatically change the intent of these bills. I urge James to get his facts straight on important issues affecting Hoosiers.

Ultimately, my job as a state senator is to dutifully represent the views and opinions of my constituents, and I take that job very seriously. My beliefs in defending our Constitution and liberty are shared by many Hoosiers in my district and across the state. I will continue to represent these beliefs in the General Assembly.

State Sen. Jim Tomes, R-Wadesville, represents the 49th District. The opinions are the writer's.

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