INDIANAPOLIS — Moms Demand Action led a rally for gun safety Wednesday in the Indiana State Capitol.
Several speakers took the podium, including Moms Demand Action founder and Indiana native Shannon Watts. The day is focused on speaking with lawmakers about legislation focused on gun safety.
Deandra Dycus is a senior fellow with Moms Demand Action. She is also works with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department as the non-fatal shooting advocate and support manager. Dycus said they’re excited to see homicide numbers drop from 2021 to 2022, but the work is ongoing.
“We’ve had 31 homicides and 71 non-fatals, so we’re not off to a great start,” Dycus said of 2023.
Dycus spoke at the Moms Demand Action Rally at the Indiana Statehouse Wednesday.
“Getting everyone energized and pumped up to talk to their legislators for legislation for gun safety,” she said.
Watts spoke during the rally and discussed the recent shooting at Michigan State University. Three people were killed and five were injured.
“We cannot stop fighting until everyone feels safe, especially on campus. Colleges and universities should be places where our children and our colleagues who teach should feel safe,” Watts said.
After the rally, Moms Demand Action members spread out to talk to their representatives about gun safety legislation.
For Dycus, she’s talking to lawmakers about raising the minimum age to own a gun from 18 to 21. She also wants to emphasize they’re only trying to make gun ownership safer.
”We always pushed that we are okay with gun ownership,” Dycus said. “No one wants to take your gun. It’s your right. Own your gun, and operate it safely.”
Another major focus for the volunteers Wednesday was gun storage safety,
“We need to make sure that those who are not storing their guns safely are being held accountable,” Dycus said.
In January, doorbell camera video of a child waving a gun around at a Beech Grove apartment went viral. That video was a talking point for gun safety advocates at the Capitol Wednesday.
“Absolutely, whose heart could not be pierced by seeing a 4-year-old waving a gun around?” Dycus said.
State Sen. Fady Qaddoura, D-Indianapolis, is sponsoring Senate Bill 358. It would require parents lock guns away from their children and would punish those who do not.
”It focuses on safe storage solutions, requires mandatory training for gun owners and requires a dealer, a gun dealer, offer a safe, secure solution at the point of sale to make sure we’re providing all the tools necessary to make sure that these guns don’t end up in the hands of toddlers or individuals who have violent backgrounds,” Qaddoura said.
Qaddoura said the coverage and attention on the video of the Beech Grove child has brought an increased emphasis to the topic.
“I am cautiously optimistic because of the coverage on that story we will have some kind of progress and movement in the General Assembly,” he said.
Right now, SB 358 has been referred to the committee on corrections and criminal law. Qaddoura is hopeful the bill will get a hearing.
”I am working diligently with the chair of the Criminal and Corrections Committee, and he might be working on an amendment for that bill. My hope is we will be able to move forward,” he said.
The chair of the committee is State Sen. Aaron Freeman, R-Indianapolis.
Governor Eric Holcomb said he was horrified by the video of the Beech Grove child with the gun. We asked his thoughts on safer gun storage legislation.
“I’m happy to review anything that makes it’s way, that’s not on my agenda, but that makes it’s way through the process and then maybe ultimately at my desk,” Holcomb said.