INDIANAPOLIS—On the same day as America’s most recent mass shooting and four days before the National Rifle Association visits Indianapolis for its national convention, senators voted through a resolution to celebrate the organization’s leadership and gun safety programming.
At the beginning of Tuesday’s meeting in the Senate Chamber, Sen. James Tomes, R-Wadesville, (above right) stood before his colleagues to share Senate Resolution 33 to honor the National Rifle Association’s executive vice president and CEO, Wayne LaPierre, (above left) for his more than 30 years of service to the NRA.
The organization is a national gun rights advocacy group that works to lobby for the Second Amendment while teaching gun safety practices. The NRA’s stance on gun control remains that firearms are not the cause of shootings, instead saying on its website, “Criminals overwhelmingly obtain their firearms through illegal channels and will never be deterred by state and federal laws.”
LaPierre is in town because the NRA is hosting its 152nd annual national convention in Indianapolis this week, with speakers including former President Donald Trump, former Vice President and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and U.S. Sen. Mike Braun, R-Indiana, on the schedule to appear.
The resolution did not come without controversy. The Moms Demand Action activism group came to protest against SR 33.
Group founder Shannon Watts shared on her Twitter account, “Indiana Republicans are preparing to celebrate corrupt NRA president Wayne LaPierre in the statehouse, so @MomsDemand volunteers showed up to remind them that the gun industry’s agenda is killing our kids and endangering communities. Why are they celebrating that?”
However, Tomes said the NRA’s work with gun safety programming is something to be celebrated.
“Since 2016, the NRA has refused to be a victim. Seminars have helped more than 100,000 men and women develop their own personal safety plan using common-sense strategies. For more than 150 years, the NRA has assisted millions of individuals in the United States and abroad in learning firearm safety through its own various programs,” Tomes said.
Sen. Blake Doriot, R-Goshen, supported Tomes on the resolution.
“This is a wonderful group doing good things, and I was pleased to be one of the authors of the constitutional carry bill which was passed last year,” Doriot said. “And I hope more of you will join me and Sen. Tomes on this resolution.”
No Democratic senators shared their thoughts on the resolution or opposed it in a voice vote, meaning it unanimously passed.
After its passage, Sen. Greg Taylor, D-Indianapolis, said that while he believed Senate Democrats showed respect by letting Tomes present the NRA resolution, he felt he would be doing a disservice to Indiana by not saying something about gun violence.
“I take this opportunity to respectfully challenge us to start thinking about common-sense gun legislation while we can also celebrate those organizations that practice the same thing and protect everyone’s right to carry,” Taylor said. “We can still have both.
“We can work on sensible legislation to protect everybody and not just those who want to carry a firearm.”
Ashlyn Myers is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.