As the nation ravages the recent mass shootings in South Carolina, Texas, and Georgia, Indiana is grappling with its own gun violence crisis.
Gun homicides rose an average of 30% in cities across the United States last year, but increased 40% in Indianapolis.
And South Bend saw 23 fatal shootings in 2020, compared to 11 in 2019, nicknamed “Shot Bend.”
Firearms flood neighborhoods where residents are unlikely to have life insurance and navigate on their own in an increasingly high risk environment. Guns have invaded low-income communities for years, and it’s not surprising that Indiana received a “D-” on the current Giffords Law Center Gun Law Score Card.
Look at the case of Chanel Neal, 28 years old. She was killed in a drive-by shooting in South Bend by an assailant who remains at large. She drove.
Individuals raised over $ 8,000 for a GoFundMe campaign to help cover Neal’s funeral expenses and emergency care for her 6-year-old son. It is hardly enough.
Average funeral costs range from $ 9,000 to $ 12,000. Indiana’s Victim Compensation Service only reimburses innocent loved ones $ 5,000 at the end of a homicide investigation if two conditions are met: 1) The next of kin must cooperate with the police investigation, which exacerbates their trauma and sometimes exposes the family in retaliation; and 2) the investigation determines that the victim did not participate in the foul.
Gun manufacturers are benefiting significantly from a record number of guns purchased in the US in 2020 and still accept no liability for the widespread and well-documented misuse of their products. This untenable situation could be remedied through a victim compensation service modeled on the insurance industry’s State Guarantee Fund, which charges licensed insurers to protect customers in the event of a company going bankrupt.
The proposed Victim Compensation Fund could be funded by charging firearm makers an annual fee based on gross sales to authorize their products to be sold in Indiana. With this change, Indiana could lead the nation to offer a pilot program that takes into account the rights and realities of all of its residents without affecting their rights under the Second Amendment.
The state lacks the power to impose an excise tax on firearms manufacturers, but it can legally create an independent entity like the State Guarantee Association. That facility could be tasked with establishing, administering and administering a Victims Compensation Fund to cover the deceased’s funeral expenses after a shooting, along with certain other expenses borne by surviving family members. These points could include trauma and grief counseling; temporary accommodation; Loss of wages; Childcare and education costs for the victim’s surviving children.
It may seem cold-hearted to focus on the financial implications of murder, but when defending our rights under the Second Amendment, we must not overlook the protection of all citizens under the Constitution, whether they are armed or not. The public has a moral duty to end the gun violence epidemic. We have to insist that gun manufacturers have a head start on the Neals and every other grieving family in Indiana.
Mary Louise Kocy is from South Bend. She lives in New York City.