Tomes’ beliefs about guns are rooted in the Bill of Rights. He wonders why journalists seem quick to protect their First Amendment right to a free press, but seem so dismissive of his Second Amendment right to bear arms. If he had to do a count, he thinks he’d find a lot more scary gun stories, he said, than stories “about people who’ve used guns responsibly to protect themselves or their loved ones.”
So Tomes patiently counsels gun owners to be mindful of that. His law protects the rights of legal, licensed gun owners in Indiana to openly display their firearms in public places – including some polling places this November. But it’s not what he advises – not by a long shot.
Two reasons why: First, he worries it would make them a target. “If somebody comes in with a gun intending to harm people, who do you think he’s going to shoot first?” Tomes said. Second, because many people just aren’t accustomed to the sight of a gun. “It’s common courtesy to keep them concealed,” he said, “as to not excite unnecessary fear.”
That’s a courtesy, he said, his law won’t undo. “Most legal firearms carriers are responsible enough to extend this courtesy to fellow Hoosiers, carrying their firearms concealed as a demonstration of respect.”
• Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana, including the Kokomo Tribune. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.