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April 1, 2013

HOWEY: Political gun battle comes to Indiana

(Continued)

INDIANAPOLIS —

On Jan. 16, soon after President Obama unveiled gun reforms in the wake of Newtown, Donnelly said in a TV interview,  “I'm a supporter of the Second Amendment and I am also a dad. I think it is absolutely critical our children know they can go to school and be safe and we can go to a workplace and be safe.”

Asked about background checks, Donnelly said, “I think we can tighten those up. While we have Second Amendment rights, we have responsibilities.”

Last Tuesday in Fort Wayne, Donnelly said, “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. And so we're trying to put together a piece of legislation that will reflect that.”

Sen. Coats, who has an “A” rating from the Indiana chapter of the NRA but whose 2010 Senate opponent (former U.S. Rep. Brad Ellsworth who received the NRA endorsement), reacted to President Obama's gun legislation on Jan. 16 by saying, “The Newtown shooting was a horrific tragedy that had an impact on all Americans but especially every parent, teacher and student, and it is right for our country to reflect on how we can prevent such events in the future.”

Coats added that Second Amendment rights need to be protected. “Laws alone cannot eliminate all acts of violence,” he said. “As Americans we need to examine a culture that increasingly glamorizes violence and determine how we can better identify and address mental illness in our society.”

Coats spokeswoman Tara DiJulio told me on Wednesday, “Sen. Coats wants to see what the final legislation is.” On the expanded background checks proposed in the Senate bill, DiJulio said that Coats believes “more needs to be done on existing laws.”

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