Armed campuses don’t appeal to students

Armed campuses, mo-ped laws are subjects of editorials from Indiana newspapers
Posted on Sept. 17, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on Sept. 17, 2013 at 6:37 p.m.

Recent editorials from Indiana newspapers:

Students find armed campus unappealing

Sen. Jim Banks, R-Columbia City, has introduced legislation in each of the last two sessions of the General Assembly that would allow college students to carry guns on campus. But a new survey by Ball State University shows that students don’t want guns on campus.

The survey of 1,649 undergraduates at 15 Midwestern public universities found that 78 percent of students oppose concealed handguns on campus. Seventy-nine percent said they would not feel safe if faculty, fellow students and visitors carried guns on campus. Ninety-six percent believe concealed-carry permits should require firearms training.

The guns-on-campus legislation has ties to the National Rifle Association and the American Legislative Exchange Council, the corporate-controlled group that drafts model bills for lawmakers to carry in their respective states. After mass shootings at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University, ALEC adopted the “Campus Personal Protection Act,” proposed by the NRA. It would allow any concealed carry permit holder to bring guns on college campuses and would prohibit any institution from restricting that right. Banks is a member of Indiana’s ALEC delegation.

He told The Journal Gazette last year that he filed the bill because students told him they would feel safer on campus if they could carry guns. Banks wouldn’t say whether the ban on guns at the Statehouse should be lifted.

— The Journal Gazette (Fort Wayne)

Mo-ped law needs clarity

In February, Hoosiers were wondering what the Indiana Senate would do with a bill that passed the House, 75-18, and set a 30 mph speed limit for mo-ped users on state roadways.

The motorized bicycles have been in a legal gray area that almost certainly would be clarified, we thought.

Senators didn’t give it a hearing.

Last summer, an Indiana Supreme Court ruling in the case of a man arrested for going 43 mph on a mo-ped upheld current state law saying a “motorized bicycle,” as mo-peds are classified, cannot have a maximum design speed over 25 mph.

The case, Michael Lock v. State of Indiana, dates back to 2009 when a state trooper pulled over the Huntington man as he was riding along a state highway.

Lock was convicted on a Class D felony charge of operating a vehicle with a suspended license. As punishment, he had his driving privileges taken away for life.

Lock appealed the conviction, arguing he did not need a license to operate a “motorized bicycle.”

The Indiana Court of Appeals overturned Lock’s conviction. Current Indiana law says individuals don’t need a driver’s license to ride mo-peds and scooters, but police and prosecutors argue the restriction was meant for vehicles built to travel no faster than 25 mph. Lock’s mo-ped was traveling 43 mph, and people in law enforcement argue a vehicle capable of going that fast can’t possibly be exempt from traffic laws.

The issue is not whether mo-peds should be going 43 mph. State law already sets the maximum speed at 25.

The issue is whether a mo-ped rider is subject to the same restrictions as the operator of a car or motorcycle.

House Speaker Brian Bosma met last week with Evansville police officers to hear why they want tougher rules for operating mo-peds. Police Sgt. Jason Cullum said two-thirds of mo-ped operators involved in crashes have suspended licenses and almost all of them have no insurance, the Evansville Courier & Press reported.

The bill that passed the House last session also called for mo-ped operators to register their rides with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

Passage of such a bill would be welcome news to police officers and prosecutors throughout the state.

— Pharos-Tribune (Logansport)

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