Indiana isn’t generally a state that pops up among the most pro-gun in the nation, but it probably should be. This is a state that has embraced gun rights fully and continues to work toward restoring them wherever it can.
At least, as a state, that’s the case.
However, some lawmakers don’t agree, then get outraged when their anti-gun bills receive pushback.
Gun control, tax transparency and college savings are among the topics being tackled this year by state lawmakers from the WLFI viewing area.
A new bill would raise the age from 18 to 21 to buy semiautomatic assault-style rifles and large-capacity magazines.
State Sen. Ron Alting, a Republican from Lafayette, authored the proposal.
“We’re tired of seeing our children getting slaughtered. Enough is enough,” he says. “This bill is not going to solve all that, but it just comes to beg the question with just common sense: Does an 18-year-old really, really need a weapon that’s going to 69 rounds in less than a minute?”
Alting recognized the bill would be controversial among many members of the General Assembly.
“We’re a very, very strong NRA state,” he says. “We’re very strong NRA in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. I expect a lot of push back on this.”
He should expect pushback, but not because of the relative strength of the NRA in the legislature. He should expect pushback because it’s a stupid bill.
First, he doesn’t get to decide what an 18-year-old needs and doesn’t need.
Second, he invokes mass shootings to try and push this measure, but the majority of mass shootings are carried out with handguns, which already have an age restriction attached. That’s important to remember because if mass shootings are the problem, then clearly age restrictions don’t have any kind of impact so far as we can see.
But age restrictions do limit self-defense options for lawful adults under the age of 21. These are people who may be living on their own and should be entitled to the best tools for self-defense available. Since handguns are off the table due to federal law, that will leave long guns.
For many, both in Indiana and elsewhere, that means an AR-15, which allows quick reloads and an adjustable stock for shooters of differing sizes. While they’re not my first choice for self-defense home defense, others may decide differently.
And Alting is basically telling people he knows better.
Yet it’s easy for the Indiana lawmaker to look at a few isolated situations and pretend that these guns represent some grave problem. Yet tens of thousands, at a minimum, are sold each year to people under the age of 21 that are never used for any nefarious purpose.
Then, when someone misuses an AR-15 or similar weapon in a mass shooting and happens to be under the age of 21, people forget about all of them and act like it’s some inherent flaw that magically goes away when you’re old enough to drink.
That’s why Alting is going to get pushback on this bill. It’s not because of the NRA, but because this bill deserves it.