The Harbinger

Visit from a Congresswoman

Indiana Representative Susan Brooks visits Boone County to discuss gun control and other issues

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Visit from a Congresswoman

Susan Brooks listens as senior Kelsey Merrill shares her opinions on gun control.

Susan Brooks listens as senior Kelsey Merrill shares her opinions on gun control.

Susan Brooks listens as senior Kelsey Merrill shares her opinions on gun control.

Susan Brooks listens as senior Kelsey Merrill shares her opinions on gun control.

By Rachel Shultz, Staff

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Congresswoman Susan Brooks visited the Hussey-Mayfield Public Library on March 26 to hear the opinions of Zionsville students and citizens. Citizens were given one-on-one time with Brooks to discuss issues and changes they want to be made.

Groups and individuals came to speak with Brooks about various issues, including more funding for Parkinson’s disease research, climate change, school security, immigration, the opioid crisis, and Russia.

“I like to hear from the citizens who come to share with me issues they might have with federal government,” Brooks said. “I also like to hear from constituents what they think about either bills that we’ve passed, or bills that they would like to see us pass. I also hear from constituents of different groups they’d like me to get involved in or learn more about.”

One major issue that many citizens, especially students, brought up was gun control and school safety. Freshman Sophie Quick wanted to speak with Brooks about Universal Background Checks, and other gun control solutions. She wanted Brooks to turn less focus and attention to regulation of gun control, and pay more attention to independent buyers and illegal arms deals.

“I’m hoping that she’ll think through what I’m asking her, and take it into consideration,” Quick said.

Brooks has experience with gun violence, and supports passing bills such as the Red Flag law, which allows law enforcement to take away guns from those they deem a danger to themselves or others. This law is active in Indiana, but not throughout the entire United States.

“When it comes to school safety and gun violence, I’ve been involved in that since the 90’s when I was deputy mayor in Indianapolis,” Brooks said. “I’ve been involved in fighting gun violence for a long period of time. It’s a very difficult complex issue. There’s no one answer. I do believe we need to remove guns from those who have serious mental illness, and could do more to do that. I think our background check system is not working the way it should be working. I think we got to support law enforcement, and I’m working on a bill to allow law enforcement to remove guns from the hands of dangerous and mentally ill people.”

Brooks also supports the “Walk Up Not Out” movement, which promotes kindness as a way to help prevent gun violence in schools.

“I think we also don’t have enough conversations in this country, and acknowledge the level of mental illness that is happening in this country and in our communities, and people need to realize what their role is,” Brooks said. “So, for kids, I very much like the “Walk Up” movement that is also talking and educating people about reaching out to people that are lonely, or that might be bullied, and standing up for people who are being bullied.”

Brooks places a special value on talking to students.

“[Talking to students] has a significant impact. That’s why I’ve always, since I came to office in 2013, I have youth advisory groups, because my kids are older now,” Brooks said.

Brooks wants to stay up to date on the issues that kids in high school face.

“I don’t have kids in high school anymore, so it’s really important for me to hear, what are the challenges that are happening in high school, how are kids doing, what are the things they’re concerned about, so that’s why I started this youth advisory group,” Brooks said.

The youth advisory group has discussions on topics such as the opioid epidemic and terrorism. Their next meeting, taking place Apr. 14, is a discussion on school safety.

Brooks hopes that students will continue advocating for themselves, and encourages all students and Zionsville residents of voting age to register and vote.

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