Ind. (AP) — Indiana Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly, facing pressure to back
comprehensive background checks for gun buyers, says he supports extending
them to gun shows.
The Journal Gazette on Tuesday that the checks are needed to keep
criminals and the mentally ill from getting weapons.
"I want to
make sure that people with, say, a felony or dealing with mental illness
cannot get their hands on weapons that can cause so much destruction," he
said during a visit to Fort Wayne. "And so we're trying to put together a
piece of legislation that will reflect that."
in January that he was receptive to background checks but declined to say
at that time whether gun shows should be included.
requires criminal background checks on prospective customers of federally
licensed gun dealers, but it exempts private sellers, including weapons
sold at gun shows.
The Senate is
expected to consider gun-control measures after it returns to session
Indiana is one
of 13 states where television advertisements have urged viewers to tell
their congressmen to vote for comprehensive background checks. That $12
million ad campaign is supported by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and
his Mayors Against Illegal Guns group, whose members include Fort Wayne
Mayor Tom Henry.
A news release
issued Tuesday by Mayors Against Illegal Guns identified Donnelly and
Indiana Republican Sen. Dan Coats among 15 key votes for comprehensive
communication director, Tara DiJulio, said Tuesday in an email that Coats
is waiting to see details of the final legislation.
concerned that many of the current proposals infringe on the Second
Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners and would not prevent deranged
individuals from committing acts of violence," DiJulio said. "Coats also
believes that more should be done to enforce existing laws on background
Republican Rep. Marlin Stutzman criticized the Mayors Against Illegal
Guns' ad campaign in a statement released Tuesday. He is chairman of the
Second Amendment Initiative, a caucus of Republican House members who want
to preserve gun rights.
Indiana, responsible gun owners value the 2nd Amendment and know that
Mayor Bloomberg's knee-jerk reactions on everything from sodas to firearms
aren't going to solve the problem," Stutzman said.