As permitless carry takes effect in Indiana, gun control activists long for "compromise"

(AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

As of today, Hoosiers who can legally own a gun can also lawfully carry it without the need for a government-issued permission slip, and as you can imagine, the handful of gun control activists in the state aren’t happy about it. Instead, they’re longing for “compromise” when it comes to Indiana gun laws, which seems more like wishful thinking than a political strategy.

It’s true that Indiana Senator Todd Young was one of 15 Republicans to vote for the gun deal cobbled together by a bipartisan group of senators in response to the shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde, but Young is very much the exception and not the rule when it comes to matters that implicate the right to keep and bear arms. Why would Indiana Republicans water down the Second Amendment protections that they’ve recently put in place, especially after the Supreme Court has come made it abundantly clear that our right to bear arms in self-defense is a fundamental right?

On the state level, Democrats have asked to discuss gun laws during the upcoming special session. But GOP leadership has said it wants to focus on inflation relief and restricting abortion access.

Despite the reluctance to pursue gun reform in recent years, Molly Barwick, Bloomington representative for Moms Demand Action on Gun Violence, says she is holding out hope for some sort of compromise, as legislators have shown a willingness to act on gun safety in the past – Indiana was the second state in the U.S. to implement a red flag law.

“There is still work we can do in Indiana,” she said. “The more I talk to people, gun owners and non-gun owners, about these issues, we all want to work to prevent gun violence.”

It’s nice of Barwick to acknowledge that, but she also has to understand that for many gun owners, preventing “gun violence” doesn’t involve reducing access to our Second Amendment rights or targeting law-abiding gun owners instead of the perpetrators of violent crime. There are lots of things that we can do that are targeted, effective, and constitutional, but gun control activists like her are constantly pushing for a solution that depends on infringing on the rights of legal gun owners, and they’re not going to find many gun owners in Indiana willing to compromise their rights for the empty promise of increased safety.

… Barwick and other advocates say they’ll continue to push for gun reform in future sessions, though they aren’t expecting movement anytime soon. But they’ve been pleased to see many people at recent gun protests have been young.

“They’re understanding that you need to get out and you need to talk to your lawmakers, you need to campaign and work to elect officials,” Barwick said. “I am encouraged by that. They understand that at an earlier age than I did.”

Yeah, gun control activists love to see young people involved in the political process almost as much as they hate to see them embrace their right to keep and bear arms. Unfortunately for Barwick and her fellow gun control activists, most of what they’re demanding is not only unpopular among Indiana lawmakers, but unconstitutional as well.

My advice? Drop the demands for more restrictions on law-abiding citizens. Instead of searching for a “compromise” that isn’t likely to come, collaborate with gun owners and Second Amendment advocates on strategies to reduce violent crime that focus on violent offenders instead. Republicans and Democrats in Virginia recently came together to secure millions of dollars in grant money for cities that adopt Project Ceasefire; a proven program that offers young gang members the opportunity to turn their life around or, failing that, delivers serious consequences by referring any future criminal case to federal court whenever possible. This effort has reduced homicide rates by more than 50% in cities that have successfully adopted the program, and if gun control activists are looking for a truly “commonsense reform” that can get the backing of even conservative gun owners, Project Ceasefire would be a good place to start.