Bills filed to counter BLM protests

INDIANAPOLIS — Following a summer of Black Lives Matter protests, Republicans at the Statehouse introduced a slew of bills aimed at relieving the “strife and civil unrest” of business owners and law enforcement. “We had businesses that were destroyed in downtown Indianapolis and those owners really were… helpless,” Sen. Michael Young, who chairs the Corrections and Criminal Law committee, said. The committee discussed and heard testimony for Senate Bills 187, 198 and 199 that seek to create a policy statement on historic monuments, enhance rioting penalties and expanded self-defense protections, respectively. Bills 198 and 199, both authored by Young, R-Indianapolis, were held back for further amendments but had testimony. Senate Bill 187, by Sen. Eric Koch, R-Bedford, passed unanimously with no opposition. Guy Relford, founder of the gun rights group 2A Project, spoke on SB 199, which expands the definition of “reasonable force” in relation to self-defense. Under the bill, business owners can defend their properties from threats of violence with “reasonable force” – which includes pointing a loaded or unloaded firearm. “Under Indiana code … it’s a crime to point a firearm at someone unless you’re justified in using reasonable force,” Relford, an attorney, said. “The problem what … (is) when one is defending their property, they’re not only talking about their home. We’re talking about property other than their home (which) could be a business.” Relford said that current law would make protecting your business with a loaded firearm a felony or a misdemeanor if using an […]

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