With Governor Mitch Daniels signature Indiana puts two laws into place that will change the right to Carry Concealed for the better. On June 1, 2011, Senate Bill 292 and Senate Bill 506 will become law.
In an attempt to counter the type of confusing localized restrictions on firearms and an individual’s right to carry a firearm like those passed in several areas nationwide, the State Legislature drafted SB 292. I introduced, by State Senator Jim Tomes (R) from Wadesville, Indiana, SB 292 prevents local units of government (Counties, Cities, and Towns) from passing restrictive firearms or ammunition laws that are more punitive than State Law. Basically, the restrictions to Carry and Carry Concealed will always be the same everywhere in Indiana.
Over the past several weeks there have been a number of hot opinions expressed about the recording of a Philadelphia police sergeant drawing his weapon on a private citizen for carrying a pistol in the open. Good points have been made on all sides, but the most telling part of the recording, for me, is that this is not a rookie policeman and even this sergeant is not sure about the gun laws in his city. If this sergeant lives in one of Philadelphia’s suburbs, he could be stating that communities restrictions rather than those where he is employed.
That is the problem in many places in the US as the laws to control firearms, and especially handguns may differ county to county, city to city and sometimes county to a city within its borders and all within a single State. One need only look at the State of Illinois and the area in and around Chicago to understand how much of patchwork laws related to handguns, even gun ownership, can be. The US Supreme Court may rule against the City of Chicago’s handgun ownership ban but has shown little interest in considering conflicting regulations even when those exist within the four corners of an intersection.
The second soon to be law was formed in SB 506, introduced by State Senators Jim Tomes (R) from Wadesville, Indiana and Dennis Kruse (R) from Indianapolis, Indiana, which allows an individual to transport a handgun under very specific circumstances without a handgun license. One of the significant circumstances, for those of us who are Pistol Instructors, includes for the purposes of instruction. Indiana’s carry permits are not currently recognized in 13 states who recognize permits from other states. One of the reasons those other states give is that in Indiana the permit holder neither has to have proof of training or having passed any fundamental competency with a handgun. One of the arguments, in Indiana, against including training has been that you need a license to transport a firearm outside the home (except as prescribed under US transport law) so people obtain a license and then it is too late to add any competence and training requirements. For those of us who would prefer our Carry Permits to have more universal acceptance by other states, this is the first step in accomplishing that goal.
Editorialists have labeled making the whole state subject to one set of restrictions a nanny law and the State taking on the role of city and county councils, adding this is against the local rule. In an April 1st, 2011 Opinion Ed piece for the Indianapolis Star titled Taking aim at gun laws, Paul Helmke the former Mayor of Ft. Wayne, Indiana who has become president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, called for stronger restrictions on private sales, limits on high-capacity magazines and giving law enforcement more tools to disrupt gun trafficking. In his opinion piece, he condemned any national or state laws limiting local authority to pass firearms restrictions. Based upon the gun laws soon to be enforced in Indiana, I think it would be safe to say Mr. Helmke would not be considered as a voice for state opinion.
For your information, if SB 292 becomes law what restrictions would already apply?
A digest of Senate Bill 292:
Preemption of local firearm regulation. Prohibits, with certain exceptions, a political subdivision from regulating any matter pertaining to firearms, ammunition, and firearm accessories. Allows a person to file an action against a political subdivision if the person is adversely affected by an ordinance, measure, enactment, rule, or policy of the political subdivision that violates the law.
Places already covered in Indiana State Law related to firearms and carrying a concealed weapon in Indiana restrictions Include:
- In or On School Property.
- On a school bus
- In or on property that is being used by a school for a school function
- Private School(IC 20*9.1*1*3) & (IC 35*41*1*24.7)
- Head Start (IC 35*41*1*24.7)
- Preschool (IC 35-41-1-24.7)
- IC 35*47*9*1Allows the carry of firearms by persons permitted to possess and who are transporting a person to or from school or a school function.
- On an aircraft
- Controlled access areas of an airport
- During annual State Fair 80 IAC 4-4-4 (Must lock in a vehicle)
- Shipping port 130 IAC 4-1-8 (Controlled by Indiana Port Commission)
- A riverboat Casino
It should be noted that the exceptions as passed by the Indiana Senate include:
- buildings containing a court or portion containing a court
- the intentional display of a firearm at a public meeting
- a public hospital that contains a secure correctional health unit that is staffed by a law enforcement officer
- a person participating in:
- a community corrections program (IC 11-12-1);
- a forensic diversion program (IC 11-12-3.7); or
- a pretrial diversion program (IC 33-39-1); or the enforcement or prosecution of the offense of criminal recklessness (IC 35-42-2-2) involving the use of a firearm.