INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Democratic Party, the organization that advocates for Hoosiers, their families and workers, is deeply troubled and strongly opposes Indiana Republican politicians applauding NRA leaders before the organization’s Annual Meeting this weekend in Indianapolis.
In the wake of recent mass shootings and gun violence across the United States, our elected leaders should be working to find solutions to stop senseless violence and promote responsible gun ownership and safety. Indiana Democrats are committed to respecting the Second Amendment and protecting Hoosiers.
On Tuesday of this week, just a day after another mass shooting that killed five people in Louisville, Republicans paraded NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre and other executives into the Indiana Statehouse to honor them, without a single mention of the innocent Americans who have lost their lives in recent mass shootings. Now, several Republican politicians will be speaking at the NRA’s annual forum, including Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb, Senator Mike Braun, former President Donald Trump, and former Vice President Mike Pence.
Republican politicians are simply bought and paid for by the gun lobby. In the ten-plus years since the horrific Sandy Hook shooting, the NRA has spent over $130 million to help elect Republicans who will support their agenda and vote against gun safety measures. In 2018 alone, the NRA spent more than $1.2 million to benefit Braun’s Senate campaign.
“Hoosier Democrats believe we must do more to protect our children and communities from gun violence. We can do this in a way that respects the Second Amendment by putting in place reforms that are not only supported by a majority of Americans – but also by a majority of gun owners,” said Indiana Democratic Party Chairman Mike Schmuhl. “By embracing the NRA this week, Indiana Republicans are making it clear that they accept the incomprehensible and the majority-opposed status quo. Hoosiers deserve commonsense leaders that can come together on these tough issues and find solutions to promote responsible gun purchasing and ownership, reduce violence, and save innocent lives.”
Hoosiers know the tragic consequences that gun violence brings to our state. Just in the past month, a five year old shot and killed their 16-month old sibling in Lafayette with a firearm left accessible, and handguns were found on school property in Hammond and East Chicago.
A majority of Americans believe that our elected officials must take steps to combat gun violence. A recent survey showed over 60 percent of gun owners nationally support common sense measures such as universal background checks, and requiring a permit to carry a concealed firearm.
Despite this, Indiana Republicans passed legislation last session opposed by Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter, and many local law enforcement agencies, to remove the requirement to carry a concealed or openly carried handgun. Hoosier Democrats listened to our men and women in blue by opposing the dangerous bill.
The Democratic Party has led efforts to protect Hoosiers from gun violence while respecting and supporting gun owners and the Second Amendment. Statehouse Democrats have supported safe storage laws, such as the ones in other states, that protect children, and hold irresponsible gun owners accountable for allowing minors access to weapons.
Democratic U.S. Reps. Frank Mrvan and André Carson supported the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the first major piece of gun safety legislation in 30 years, which became law in 2021. All seven Indiana Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives voted against the measure. That in itself is a tragedy.