Bipartisan Indiana Crime Guns Task Force bill heads to the governor
INDIANAPOLIS – The House concurred with the Senate today on changes to legislation co-authored by State Rep. John L. Bartlett (D-Indianapolis) to establish the Indiana Crime Guns Task Force, which would be responsible for tracing firearms used to commit crimes in various counties.
House Bill 1558 assigns the Indiana Crime Guns Task Force to specifically come up with a uniform strategy to trace firearms used to commit crimes in Boone, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Marion, Morgan, Johnson and Shelby counties. These counties have chosen to participate as they have seen an increase in gun activity. Law enforcement officials testified in the House Committee on Courts and Criminal Code that gun violence in the Indianapolis area has spilled out into their suburbs and Central Indiana counties.
The Senate Committee on Corrections and Criminal Law amended HB 1558 to specify that local law enforcement agencies are responsible for certain employee costs associated with participating in the task force.
Indianapolis saw a 37 percent increase in homicides last year, with 89 percent of those homicides being the result of gun violence. The first three months of 2021 have seen seven mass killings across the country, including the shooting on Adams Street in Indianapolis that resulted in the deaths of six people.
The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD), Indiana State Police (ISP) and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) currently partner to operate a Crime Gun Intelligence Center that will work in collaboration with the task force.
“There has been so much grief and heartbreak this year as we've lost thousands to COVID-19, so to lose even more Hoosiers to gun violence is crushing. This has to stop,” Bartlett said.
“The Indiana Crime Guns Task Force will track and remove firearms from the cycle of violence and gather data to help us prevent crime in the future. This is a tremendous step in the right direction for our state, and I look forward to continuing to work with my fellow legislators to keep guns off our streets. Together, we can save Hoosier lives and make Indiana a safer place to call 'home.'”
HB 1558 will now head to the Governor to be signed into law.