Lebanon Reporter

State News

March 27, 2013

Gun-rights lawmaker wants tougher gun penalty

INDIANAPOLIS — One of the chief sponsors of legislation that would rewrite the Indiana criminal code wants to amend the bill to add a mandatory five-year prison sentence for using a gun to commit a felony.

Republican state Sen. Brent Steele, a gun-rights advocate, said the mandatory, full five-year penalty would send a strong message to criminals that gun violence won’t be tolerated in Indiana.

“We’re sending a message to people who want to violate the law in Indiana: If you use a firearm, you will get burned for five hard years,” Steele said.

Indiana already has a law that allows a prosecutor to ramp up the charges on someone who uses a firearm to commit a felony.

Steele wants to amend House Bill 1006, now in the Senate, to change Indiana law so a prosecutor could file the gun charge separately from the related felony, and require anyone convicted of the charge to serve 100 percent of the five-year prison term that would come with it.

“There would be no probation on it, no chance of probation and if you get convicted of it, you will not get any credit time whatsoever,” Steele said. “You’re just going to have to serve those five solid years.”

Steele is the powerful chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the author of past gun-rights bills endorsed by the National Rifle Association. He’s also a key sponsor of House Bill 1006, major legislation that lessens penalties for low-level drug crimes and toughens penalties for the worst sex and violent crimes.

Steele said he was motivated in part to file the bill because of the heat that legitimate gun owners are taking in the current debate over gun control.

“I’m tired of people of using firearms in the commission of a felony, and then legitimate gun owners always taking the rap for it. The average citizen says: ‘Well, punish the criminal, not the law-abiding citizen.”

Steele said a mandatory prison term would “send a message, that we take the use of firearms seriously.”

Steele helped craft the language of House Bill 1006 that brings down penalties for low-level drug offenders, and diverts them out of prison and into local treatment programs.

Steele found out last week that Gov. Mike Pence objects to the bill and believes that lowering drug penalties sends the wrong message.

At a press briefing for TV and radio reporters last week, Pence said the legislation should be about reducing crime, not reducing penalties.

Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana. She can be reached at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com.

1
Text Only
State News

Featured items
Click below to browse and order photos


Photos from June 2014

Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide