The Life Of A Gun Bill
Pertinacious: holding firmly to some purpose, belief, or action, often stubbornly or obstinately, hard to get rid of; unyielding; persistent. That’s a good word. It might describe events that took place in my first session as a freshman Indiana state senator.
Indianapolis, IN – -(Ammoland.com)- I had hoped to just observe the process on my first term, but was encouraged to introduce some bills.
So I did. Indiana is a very gun friendly state, but there can always be improvement.
I introduced two bills; SB 292, which is a preemption measure which not only will prohibit local units of government from enacting any gun laws that are outside of state law, but will remove all those that already exist. The other was SB 506 which will provide for citizens that do not have a handgun carry license to transport a handgun in their vehicle to designated places.
Though SB 292 was filed first, SB 506 was the first to get passed. It was a significant piece of legislation and probably would have received more resistance than what it did had it not been for the former.
The following is the course that SB 292 endured through the legislative process. First it starts out as an idea; one that I felt was long overdue. The idea is presented to what is called LSA, (Legislative Services Agency). This is a non partisan body of attorneys that put an idea into a form of a bill.
The bill was then filed in the clerk’s office. The senate leadership then decides if the bill merits a hearing called a first reading, if so it will be assigned a committee hearing. In this case the bill was assigned to a committee that I was a member.
This is referred to as a “hearing” at which public testimony is accepted. I presented the bill and those who oppose or support the bill may speak on it. Then a vote is taken, if it passes, which in this case it did, it will move to its second reading in front of the full senate. At this point there is much debate and dialog. This is where the author of the bill must explain the purpose of the bill and be able to counter all of the opposition from senate members who hope to defeat the bill or amend it.
There were no amendments added to the bill in the second reading and it was then scheduled for a third reading where the author explains the bill briefly and it still can be debated but no changes can be made generally and is then put up for a roll call vote. The bill passed 38 to 12 out of the Senate and then it heads for the House and starts the whole process all over again.
A state representative who is willing to sponsor the bill on the House side will take it from there. In this case the bill received a lot of amendments. By this time SB 292 had received a lot of media attention as well as opposition from several groups who did not want this bill to pass. I even got called by Alan Colmes from New York and interviewed by the New York Times. This bill became very controversial. It’s noteworthy to note that there was much support for the bill as well including some teacher’s organization that sent e-mails to legislators asking them to support SB 292 in its original form.
When the bill came back to me from the House with all those amendments I dissented on it because there was no way I would shove that off onto the citizens.
The bill then was assigned to a conference committee where it once again was open for public testimony. Afterwards the changes are worked out. The bill was put into its original form with one exception. Then the bill is sent to a rules committee and this was on the final day of the session with just hours before the end of session also called sine die. Once again I had to bring the bill before the Senate for one last time and explain the bill and what changes it may have received. Again it is open for debate and those in the senate who oppose it have one last chance to kill the bill. Another roll call vote is made and in this case it passed 40 to 10.
The bill is now passed over to the House for a final vote. The hope is that it will make it before the clock runs out. SB 292 passed the House 70 to 24. As I write this letter I am hoping that the bill will be signed by the Governor.
The lesson in all this is that gun owners must be persistent and never submit to those negative comments that “nothing can be done” or “it will never happen.”
I never once was willing to back down on what I knew was the right thing to do.Jim and Margie
2nd Amendment Patriots
The Second Amendment Patriots are a local group of citizens dedicated to preserving the rights, freedoms, and civil liberties of every American by educating the American public of the founding and history of this country and its founding fathers by explaining the role, functions and purpose of the U.S. Government; and by teaching the need and importance of an armed American public, in order to allow for a more prosperous and respectful country consisting of American citizens with a pledge of allegiance to their country and who will at the same time, voice their demand to take back the present overwhelming power of the U.S. Government and deliver it into the hands of the people to which it belongs.