Monday, September 25, 2006

Gun-Carrying Legislators

The Star's Vic Ryckaert has a story today on the State's decision to finally beef up security at the State House with the installation of metal detectors. The story notes that Hoosiers will have to check their guns at the door if they want to enter, but the gun ban won't apply to legislators and judges with permits to carry concealed guns on their person. This part of the story shocked me:

But lawmakers and judges are a different matter. Legislators have been carrying guns into the Capitol for years, exercising what they say is their Second Amendment right to bear arms. Twenty-five of Indiana's 150 senators and representatives had permits to carry concealed weapons in 2003, according to a study published by The Journal Gazette of Fort Wayne.

Sen. Brent Waltz is among the elected officials licensed to carry a sidearm under his coat. He supports the security measures and does not plan to bring his gun to the office after the new steps are implemented.

"I'd probably check it at the door," Waltz said. "I think it is not a bad thing to have fewer firearms in the Capitol."

Waltz, R-Greenwood, said he is not worried about his safety inside the Statehouse, but his trip to and from the building sometimes makes him a little nervous.

Lawmakers, Waltz said, vote on emotionally charged issues -- such as proposals to ban gay marriage or abortion -- and occasionally receive death threats from those who disagree with their positions.

"Certainly there's a level of risk anyone involved in public life takes," Waltz said. "It's important for government to try to reduce those risks as much as possible."

One out of every six legislators carries a gun! For what? Most people don't even have a clue who their state representative is. And Waltz is armed with a gun because he cast a vote to ban gay marriage? Presumbably, since he voted for a ban on gay marriage, he thinks some crazed homosexual is going to use him for target practice. That's really funny Brent. You do protest too much.


Anonymous said...

"This part of the story shocked me:"

It shouldn't be too much of a surprise if law makers want to exercise their constitutional rights. It may be a litte far fetched for state legislators to have stalkers, but stranger things have happened.

Gary R. Welsh said...

The gun ownership part doesn't surprise me. It's the number who carry a concealed weapon.

Sir Hailstone said...

Believe me if I were there I'd pack heat - if anything just because I can.

Anonymous said...

Waltz has evelated Napoleanic behavior.

Stand up, Senator. What's that? You already are?

Anonymous said...

Several legislators HAVE had stalkers in the last several years. About 5 or 6 years ago, one representative had a stalker so aggressive that he had to obtain a restraining order against the man after he entered the rep's home one day while the rep's wife and children were home alone. That stalker visited the Statehouse regularly and would try to intimidate staffers. Other legislators have had less threatening stalkers, but stalkers nonetheless.

Since the Statehouse has never had any real security, I don't blame them for packing on a daily basis.