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Several bills filed aiming to change gun laws in an effort to curb gun violence in Indiana

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Posted at 9:39 PM, Jan 05, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-05 21:39:12-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Gun violence has proven to be a prevalent issue in Indianapolis.

In 2023, more kids died of gun violence than in years past.

According to WRTV numbers, in 2022, 15 kids were shot and killed. In 2023, 21 were.

Lawmakers are hoping to address that with several different bills.

Democratic Rep. Maureen Bauer filed a bill that would create classroom-based violence prevention programs across the state.

House Bill 1173 would require a school safety plan to include a violence prevention program for students.

"The hope is to learn at a young age how to resolve your conflicts in ways other than violence,” Rep. Bauer said. “You can have emotional maturity and handle issues in ways other than turning to violent crime."

That’s something those formerly involved in gun violence say is needed.

Cameron Washington got caught with a gun at school when he was 14. He was court ordered to take part in New B.O.Y. Mentoring & Youth Development.

"You can look 18, get a gun and walk wherever you want,” Washington said. "But I feel like 21 [years old] would put a little bit more of a higher standard on it. We know you're not looking 21 at 16 or 17, so I feel like that would be a better age gap."

The founder of New B.O.Y., Kareem Hines, says the open carry law changed how the kids he works with interact with guns.

"We definitely saw a shift,” Hines said. “We saw a shift in the mindset of our kids, we saw a shift in how kids handle conflict."

The bills below were also filed by Democratic lawmakers:

  • Senate Bill 24: Changes the minimum age to carry a handgun to 21-years-old.
  • House Bill 1044: Changes the minimum age to carry a handgun to 21-years-old.
  • Senate Bill 66: Would require private gun sales to go through background checks at a firearms store.
  • Senate Bill 95: Would allow for local bodies of government to create their own gun laws if they are constitutional.

As for those who know the impacts of gun violence, they hope politicians will listen to the communities most impacted, regardless of what political party they claim.
The legislative session starts on Monday, Jan. 8.