Handgun permit end-around is politics at its worst – KPCnews.com

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Updated: March 6, 2022 @ 4:03 am

That’s not how this works.
That’s not how any of this works.
Or, maybe it is how it works when Indiana’s GOP supermajority feels the need to subvert the legislative process to cram through a particular measure, circumventing the entire process of discussion, discourse and democracy.
After Indiana Senators sidelined a proposal from Auburn Rep. Ben Smaltz to eliminate the state’s handgun permit — a move that has been strongly opposed by law enforcement across the state and that this publication opined about on Jan. 9 in an editorial ”Lawmakers should (but won’t) listen to police” — Sen. Eric Koch of Bedford unilaterally decided to insert the original permit repeal language into an entirely unrelated bill in order to keep it alive.
The bill where the handgun permit language landed, Senate Bill 209, deals with drug schedules.
It has, in its original form, absolutely, entirely nothing to do with firearms.
During debate in the House, Republican leadership struck a proposed amendment from a Democrat to the handgun bill that would have required owners to safely store and secure firearms. It was struck because it was determined to not be “germane” to the bill.
So we question how adding a firearm permit repeal to a bill about drug classifications is “germane” to that piece of legislation.
Answer: It’s not.
After completing his cut and paste, Koch then allowed no additional discussion of his transformed SB 209, stating, “I’m very confident that this issue has been thoroughly vetted.”
He’s right. It was thoroughly vetted, with Koch’s colleagues in the Senate deciding not to push it forward in its original form.
But perhaps Koch believes himself to be above the lawmaking procedure and above the trivialities of the legislative process.
During debate of the handgun bill in the Sentate before Koch’s end-around, a clearly frustrated Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter blasted the committee after offering the same kind of opposition testimony that was so readily ignored in the Indiana House.
“This is the problem with the supermajority. It stifles, prohibits and oftentimes limits public debate,” Carter said. “I sure hope you choose to show deference to law enforcement professionals who understand the magnitude and the frontline effects of this legislation, rather than the possibility of getting reelected or unelected the next primary.”
GOP leadership was miffed at the state police leader for that outburst.
Then Sen. Koch went and proved Carter 100% correct just days later.
This isn’t how making laws is supposed to work.
This is the kind of back-room, dirty-dealing, swampy type of lawmaking stuff that Americans bemoan.
Lawmakers should (but probably won’t) strike down Koch’s procedural coup on SB 209.
When they don’t, we encourage Gov. Eric Holcomb to veto it on principle, make lawmakers come back next year, follow the rules and do their jobs the right way.
OUR VIEW is written on a rotating basis by Grace Housholder, Andy Barrand, Michael Marturello and Steve Garbacz. We welcome readers’ comments.
If you’re interested in submitting a Letter to the Editor, click here.

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