My Gun Story: The Legislator

A longtime Indiana state senator and National Rifle Association board member, Johnny Nugent is among the most pro-gun lawmakers in the country.

Indiana has been fortunate to have members of the legislature who strongly believe in our precious Second Amendment. We’re one of the strongest gun-rights states. We’ve implemented some important gun laws in recent decades, and I think Indiana is where it needs to be. There are a few bills I’m particularly proud of. One, we were the first in the nation to have a lifetime concealed-carry permit. As long as you remain a good guy, it will never expire. The second is the Castle Doctrine. If you believe someone is about to do you bodily harm anywhere, you have the right to defend yourself. That includes situations with police officers and everybody else. And we just passed a bill last session that allows guns in school parking lots if they are locked in a vehicle and out of sight. That’s a good one. I believe what would endanger kids is to have a gun-free zone. Criminals don’t obey the laws. Anybody with criminal intent loves gun-free zones.

Yes, I’ve carried a gun into the Statehouse in the past. Why? Because I can. It’s America. A wise old gentleman told me once, “A person should either carry all the time or not at all.” His reasoning was this: The day you don’t carry is the day something bad is going to happen.

At the quarterly NRA board meetings, we’re seated alphabetically. So I have Ted Nugent on one side of me and Oliver North on the other. I joke I have the intellectual conversationalist and the wild man as neighbors. But they’re both great Americans, and we share the same values when it comes to gun ownership. That NRA affiliation has never caused me political strife in the rural area I represent. If anything, it has enhanced my reputation among  my constituents. I don’t  tell people they should carry a gun. That’s up to every individual. But I think we have a right to, and I want to always defend that right.


0215_COVER-cropIndianapolis is coming off one of its deadliest years ever. Under the Gun, from our February 2015 issue, offers a grim look at the violence killing our city.