Americans have a roughly 1-in-315 lifetime chance of death from gun violence, according to the National Safety Council and the National Center for Health Statistics. That’s about 50 percent more likely than the lifetime risk of dying while riding inside a car, truck or van. Wochit
A proposal calling for the City-County Council to urge the state legislature to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines failed Wednesday night in committee.
Mothers, military veterans,nurses and students spent nearly 45 minutes arguing both for and against measure, which was opposed by the National Rifle Association.
In the end, the council’s Community Affairs Committee voted 3-2 against the proposal introduced by Democrat Councilman William “Duke” Oliver.
Voting against the measure were Republicans Jason Holiday, Brian Mowery and Marilyn Pfisterer. Voting for it were Democrats Zach Adamson and Frank Mascari. Two other Democrat committee members, Blake Johnson and Christine Scales, were absent.
Mowery said he opposed the measure because it was too vague and that its description of a “weapon of violence” could mean anything from a golf club to an AR-15.
Councilman Jeff Miller, who is not a member of the committee, said the language was intentionally left vague so state lawmakers could hash out the details.
He suggested something needed to be done in the aftermath of a shooting at Noblesville’s West Middle school in which a 13-year-old boy is accused of shooting a 13-year-old classmate and a teacher. Handguns were used in the shooting.
State law prohibits local governments from passing their own gun ordinances, so the matter would have to be taken to the Indiana General Assembly for possible consideration.
“We are not able to alter state law, but we’re not trying to. We’re trying to say ‘do something.'” Miller said. “There’s a 13-year-old kid who was shot seven times in the city right next to us. She does not care what an assault rifle is and isn’t.”
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Mike Comfort, an Indianapolis native and 22-year Army veteran, was among the members of the public who opposed the measure.
“(This vote) pushes back my fear that America is losing its freedoms or losing what America is,” Comfort said. “If we start taking this and that from the Constitution, deciding what we’re going to break apart and what we’re going to keep, then what about our First Amendment Rights?
“Are we going to start looking at our right to freedom of speech or lose our right of freedom of religion?”
Pfisterer said the best course of action people can take is to “maintain the passion they have” on the subject and contact their state lawmakers.
She said because of the lack of power the City-County Council had in this situation, sending the proposal to General Assembly would be a waste of time since lawmakers “may or may not even read it.”
Chris Smallidge, a four-year Air Force veteran and activist with Action Indivisible, said it was discouraging to hear council members make disparaging comments about the proposal.
“I’ve called, I’ve written (our senators) and done protests, but it feels like it’s futile,” she said. “If these efforts aren’t getting the attention of our legislature, then what more can we do?”
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