Gov. Eric Holcomb will soon have to step into the gun rights debate as two firearm bills make their way to his desk.
The Indiana House and Senate voted Friday to send him a bill that would enable victims of domestic violence to carry a handgun without a license for 60 days — if they have protective orders against their alleged abusers.
The House voted 74-26 for measure, while the House voted 38-12.
Last week, both chambers passed a measure on to Holcomb that would allow certain Statehouse employees to bring a firearm to work if they have a permit.
Rep. Sean Eberhart, R-Shelbyville said supported the bill for domestic violence victims because some told him that they wished they could have had the option to carry a weapon in order to protect themselves.
“This is just another way for us to advance the rights of all of us to have self-protection,” Eberhart said.
Opponents say the measure is not an effective way to protect victims of domestic violence.
“We still maintain this will give a victim of domestic violence an illusory sense of safety, and it will put her at more risk,” said Kathy Williams, a lobbyist for the Indiana Coalition against Domestic Violence.
Rep. Linda Lawson, D-Hammond, called the legislation an “NRA bill” and rattled off a long list of people who were shot by their significant others throughout the state.
“I can guarantee you the people who support this law do not care about domestic violence victims,” Lawson said.
The remark drew grumbles of disagreement from some lawmakers and a warning from House Speaker Brian Bosma, who said she was impugning the character of the majority of the members in the chamber.
IndyStar reporter Stephanie Wang contributed to this story.
Call Evansville Courier & Press reporter Kaitlin Lange at (812) 549-1429. Follow her on Twitter: @kaitlin_lange.