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Hammond officials discuss gun violence during Mayor's Night Out

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screenshot from Go Hammond Facebook video
Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott Jr. checks his phone as 3rd District city council member Barry Tyler Jr. speaks during the June 15 Mayor's Night Out at Hammond Central High School.

Indiana's permitless carry law set to take effect July 1 is drawing concern from Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott Jr.

During Wednesday's Mayor's Night Out event at Hammond Central High School, McDermott criticized the Indiana General Assembly and Governor Eric Holcomb for largely ignoring the advice of the law enforcement on the issue of guns. But he also felt the nation's gun violence challenges are caused by a mix of factors — ranging from easy access to weapons and lack of support for those with mental illness to the breakdown of families and people not worshipping God.

"I just don't understand what the heck is going on in the world nowadays, and I understand why it's frustrating. We need to do something about it. I honestly feel that way. I'm not trying to take everybody's guns, but it's crazy what's going on," McDermott said.

When it comes to school shooting preparedness, Assistant Hammond Police Chief Jeff Long said officers are trained to enter buildings immediately, unlike what happened in Uvalde, Texas, where several officers apparently waited outside. "I don't know why that happened exactly, but I do know that the police officers that didn't go in the school shouldn't be police officers," Long said.

Hammond School Superintendent Scott Miller said the school district has excellent communication with city police, and officers have emergency access to key fobs and security camera video.