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Andrade statement on gun violence, new permitless carry law and mental health legislation

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INDIANAPOLIS - State Rep. Mike Andrade (D-Munster) issued the following statement in response to the news of a gunman killing nineteen children and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas:

“Our hearts are yet again broken by the evil and senseless slaughter of our children and teachers. This year, the supermajority yet again decided to choose guns over our children and voted to eliminate the handgun permit requirement. That goes into effect as a law in a little over a month, which I have vehemently opposed as well as parents and law enforcement. I urge Governor Holcomb to act immediately and call a special session to repeal House Enrolled Act 1296 and reverse this harmful legislation before we are faced with another tragic situation in our Hoosier State. We need to strengthen our gun laws, not weaken them, to ensure our children, families and communities stay safe.

“I am calling on the supermajority to follow through with policy solutions on their diagnosis of school massacres as resulting from insufficient mental health support and resources. I authored a bill this session to increase access to mental health counselors in our state by allowing therapists to enter an interstate licensing compact. This would enable telehealth counseling to cross state lines and allow Hoosiers to access mental health professionals more easily to get them the help they need. However, this critical measure did not even receive a hearing. 

“I understand that people experiencing mental health crises are not the root cause of our mass shooting epidemic, nor should we stigmatize those struggling with mental health by suggesting that every mass shooter has a mental illness. Sometimes people are deeply troubled and evil, which is why gun responsibility measures are so important. But if this is the only policy route those in power in our state will take, then they must deliver on that for the sake of our children.

“Every child deserves the right to go to school without fear of being killed by a madman with a gun. I will do everything in my power to fight for safety of our teachers and students.”

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