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2013 Indiana General Assembly

Senate leader shoots down guns-in-schools mandate

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INDIANAPOLIS | Senate President David Long, R-Fort Wayne, slammed the brakes Thursday on a pending House proposal requiring every Indiana school to have an armed employee in the building during school hours.

Long said if that provision, inserted Wednesday by the House Education Committee into Senate Bill 1, is approved by the full House, he'll remove it from the legislation when it returns to the Senate.

"It needs to be optional for our school districts to let them make the choice," Long said.

That stance is shared by Glenda Ritz, the Democratic state superintendent of public instruction, and Republican Gov. Mike Pence, who said he opposes the mandate — which would make Indiana the first state in the country to require armed personnel in every school.

"I have a strong bias for local control, and I think decisions that are nearest and dearest to our hearts ought to be made by parents and local school officials, and I believe that's so in this case," Pence said.

Supporters of the requirement believe an armed employee in every school would prevent crimes like the December elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn., where 20 students and six teachers died.

The underlying legislation would provide matching grants to school corporations to hire off-duty police officers to act as school resource officers.

Separately on Thursday, the Senate approved a resolution inviting gun manufacturers located in "gun hostile" states to relocate to Indiana and enjoy its business- and gun-friendly laws and regulations.


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