Opponents of Senate Bill 199 fear it will make 'gun play legal'

Bill passes Indiana Senate, now headed to House
Posted at 9:46 PM, Mar 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-29 23:51:25-04

INDIANAPOLIS — The African American Coalition of Indianapolis and Moms Demand Action are just some of the Indiana organizations pushing back against Senate Bill 199.

"Senate Bill 199 would include pointing a loaded gun at somebody as reasonable force and to that can only exacerbate a rough situation," Patricia Rettig said.

The bill introduced by State Senators Michael Young, R-Indianapolis, and Chris Garten, R-Scottsburg, specifies that reasonable force would include the pointing of a loaded or unloaded firearm for purposes of arrest or preventing an escape, or for self-defense when trying to prevent someone from illegally entering a home, motor vehicle, aircraft or business.

Marshawn Wolley with the African American Coalition said he believes the bill is a response to the riots of May 2020. Wolley said had the bill been in effect last year downtown business owners would've legally been able to point a gun at rioters to protect their property.

"The concern also is just the use of a weapon in that fashion," Wolley said. "Generally, when you're pointing a gun at somebody is supposed to be in really dangerous lethal kinds of circumstances. This is basically making gunplay legal."

Rettig with Moms Demand Action calls Senate Bill 199 an expansion of the Stand Your Ground law and they plan to testify against the bill. She believes if passed this piece of legislation would only make matters worse by adding more guns to a likely tense situation in several Indiana cities where gun violence is a growing problem.

"These types of laws are doing nothing to address that and bring down the gun violence in any way. If anything, they're exacerbating the existing Stand Your Ground laws in a bad situation and increasing the potential for more gun violence," Rettig said.

WRTV reached out to both Young and Garten for a response. The press secretary for Young said the senator was not feeling well and not at the statehouse today. A representative for Garten did not respond to our request for comment.

SB 199 passed out of the Senate last month and is headed for a hearing in the House this Wednesday.