Indiana Black Legislative Caucus stands with expelled Tennessee lawmakers, victims of gun violence

April 19, 2023
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April 18, 2023

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Members of the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus (IBLC) join the National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL) in their support of Reps. Justin Jones and Justin Pearson. The two African American Tennessee lawmakers were expelled from their chambers after participating in a gun reform rally on the Tennessee House floor earlier this month.

“While Reps. Jones and Pearson were eventually reinstated, we shouldn’t easily forget that two Black lawmakers were expelled for taking a stand on gun violence, especially when a white lawmaker who also participated in the rally was not,” State Rep. Earl Harris Jr. (D-East Chicago), chair of the IBLC, said.

Members of the IBLC are also calling on Indiana’s legislature to address the rise of gun violence in our state and across the country. In the past two weeks alone, there have been three mass shootings; one at a school in Nashville, one at a bank in Louisville, and one at a 16-year-old’s birthday party in Alabama. The members of the IBLC joined together today wearing red to bring attention to the roughly 1,086 Hoosiers that are killed by a gun each year.

“How many more tragedies do we have to endure before we strive to make real change?” Harris continued. “Just last year, Indiana Republicans removed the requirement to have a license to carry a firearm. While mass shootings are a regular occurrence in our country, Indiana is removing the tools from law enforcement to hinder those that wish to do harm from obtaining a firearm. The IBLC joins the NBCSL in calling for reform laws, including stronger gun storage laws, closing background check loopholes and the implementation of safeguards for people deemed to be a threat to themselves or others.

“There are ways to support the Second Amendment and still protect our communities, and these proposals do just that. Gun violence is an epidemic in our country, and African Americans are ten times more likely than white people to be a victim of gun violence. We cannot continue to delay taking action on this issue, and I look forward to having discussions with my colleagues about the first steps we can take in Indiana to keep our communities safe.”

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