RICH JAMES: Sen. Tomes pistol-whips gun control

2014-01-26T00:00:00Z RICH JAMES: Sen. Tomes pistol-whips gun controlBy Rich James
January 26, 2014 12:00 am  • 

I don't believe I have ever been to Posey County in far southwest Indiana.

Based on what I've learned in the last couple of days, I'll make sure I never step foot in that part of the state. I've got a feeling those boys play tough.

That's because the people of Posey and a couple of surrounding counties elected state Sen. Jim Tomes and the baggage that comes with him.

Tomes lives in Wadesville, which is an unincorporated blip on the radar in Posey County.

Tomes is one of those Tea Party guys who wants a Bible in every classroom. He sponsored legislation to require all public school teachers to recite the Lord's Prayer on a daily basis. Thank God, the bill died.

He also favors allowing all Hoosiers to carry a concealed handgun without a license. I suspect there is a bit of the Old West in Posey County.

Given Tomes' stand on weapons, I guess it isn't surprising that he's carrying a bill this year to prohibit local governments from continuing to conduct gun buy-back programs.

Those are the programs that offer gift cards in exchange for a gun — no questions asked.

Lake County cities have held the buy-backs over the years. They have gotten hundreds of weapons off the streets. And most of those weapons  were obtained illegally by gang-bangers and others who are a cancer on society.

Tomes doesn't want the buy-back guns destroyed. He says they are too valuable. He wants the guns to be sold to a firearms dealer or through an auction with the revenue being used for local police departments.

Clearly, police departments are underfunded, but putting more guns on the streets — often into the wrong hands — isn't the way to raise the cash.

Sure, let's make things even more dangerous in a state that has some of the loosest gun laws in the country.

Let's put more guns on the streets and in the homes where, if they are ever fired, likely will result in a suicide or homicide.

Tomes' bill passed out of committee last week. Amazingly, Sen. Lonnie Randolph, an East Chicago Democrat, voted for it. Look around your city, Lonnie. Gunfire is killing people.

Perhaps it's only fitting that Tomes has introduced the buy-back ban this year.

After all, word slithered out of Indianapolis a couple of weeks ago that the National Rifle Association will be hosting an April convention there that is expected to draw 70,000 members.

Somewhat surprisingly for the NRA — which is as brazen as organizations get — it didn't want local tourism folks to make a big to-do about the convention.

It all got me to thinking about which is scarier, Tomes or 70,000 gun-toting NRA members about to descend on Indianapolis.

Rich James has been writing about state and local government and politics for more than 30 years. Email him at The opinions are the writer’s.

Copyright 2014 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Follow The Times

Featured Businesses

Submit a Letter to Editor

We welcome letters from readers on any issue of public interest, and make every effort to publish as many as we can and in a timely manner. The Times will publish only one letter a month from a writer, and be sure to include your name, address and a telephone number for verification. Letters should be 150 words or less. They will be edited.

Letters may be submitted:
  • Via our submission form.
  • Via e-mail.
  • Via fax: (219) 933-3249 or (219) 465-7298
  • Via mail or by hand to our offices:
    • 601 45th Ave., Munster, IN 46321
    • 2080 N. Main St., Crown Point, IN 46307
    • 1111 Glendale Blvd., Valparaiso, IN 46383
    • 3410 Delta Dr., Portage, IN 46368
    • Please mark envelopes with "Attn: Letters"


Email Editorial Page Editor Doug Ross or call (219) 548-4360 or (219) 933-3357



Who do you support for the U.S. House of Representatives in District 1?

View Results