An Indiana state representative has drafted a bill that would require journalists to acquire licenses from state police.
Jim Lucas, the assistant majority whip in the Indiana state House of Representatives, had the measure drawn up earlier this year and said he may file it to drive home a point about his signature issue — gun rights.
“If you’re OK licensing my Second Amendment right, what’s wrong with licensing your First Amendment right?” he said.
The Republican lawmaker has been feuding with local media over his seven-year efforts to repeal Indiana laws that require citizens to have a permit to carry a handgun.
In Indiana, Lucas has been critical of media coverage of his efforts to repeal an Indiana law that requires a permit to carry a handgun. He said reporters, columnists and editorial boards frequently mischaracterize the idea, which is sometimes referred to as “constitutional carry.”
“If I was as irresponsible with my handgun as the media has been with their keyboard, I’d probably be in jail,” he said.
His proposal would require professional journalists to submit an application to the Indiana State Police. Journalists would be fingerprinted as part of the process and would have to pay a $75 fee for a lifetime license. Those with felony or domestic battery convictions would be prohibited from getting a license.
The proposal comes as President Donald Trump continues to feud with national news outlets such as CNN and NBC.
“Network news has become so partisan, distorted and fake that licenses must be challenged and, if appropriate, revoked. Not fair to public!” he tweeted Wednesday.
Network news has become so partisan, distorted and fake that licenses must be challenged and, if appropriate, revoked. Not fair to public!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 12, 2017
Lucas said he originally had the journalism licensing requirement drafted during the last legislative session, but decided then to keep it in reserve.
“I’m a year ahead of President Trump on this,” he said.
A panel of lawmakers is now reviewing the idea ahead of next year’s legislative session.