Messmer: State 'not doing nothing' on gun violence


In light of last month’s school shooting in Florida, state officials want residents to know what measures are in place to deter a similar situation from happening in Indiana.

The most recent activity is a study committee that is being formed to see what areas can be addressed, State Sen. Mark Messmer, R-Jasper, said at Saturday’s legislative breakfast in Jasper.

“We’re not doing nothing,” he said Saturday.

Messmer also shared this week information that he hopes will help residents understand what the state has already done to address gun violence.

The biggest measure is the “Red Flag” law, which has been in place since 2005. This gives law enforcement officers, by court order, the authority to take firearms from individuals if they believe the individuals present a risk to themselves or others, have a mental illness, have a propensity for violence or are emotionally unstable.

People can call authorities if they feel that a person is a risk, but the officer must prove that there is danger and get a court order for the confiscation. The law also includes procedures to ensure law enforcement officers don’t wrongly abuse the rule or take firearms under false pretenses, Messmer said.

Gun owners can petition for the return of their firearms every 180 days, and the state must prove the danger of returning the firearms.

Indiana is one of only five states to have such a law.

Along with having the “Red Flag” law, Indiana has the Secured School Grant Fund, which was created in 2013. The state dispenses money from the fund to school districts for things like school resource officers, safety equipment and technology, and threat assessments of the schools’ properties. More than 300 districts have received $39 million dollars through the fund, Messmer said.

School districts must also have a certified school safety specialist, who is trained through the state’s education department. And the Indiana State Police offers an active-shooter preparedness training program that is available to the public free of charge. Information about the trainings can be found at

“While people of all political stripes are calling for changes in the national law,” Messmer said, “it’s important to remember that Indiana has strong state laws and policies in place.”

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