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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Ind. Law - "It's the Law: Firing gun risks felony"

Ken Kosky's NWI Times' "It's the Law" column for today, looks at under what circumstances and in what areas it is legal to fire a firearm:

People have the right to own guns, but they can get in trouble if they decide to fire them.

The Indiana criminal recklessness statute makes it a felony, punishable by up to three years behind bars, to fire a gun in a manner that creates a substantial risk of bodily injury.

Portage police arrested a man on a criminal recklessness charge in January after he was accused of firing five or six shots in the air while at a storage facility on U.S. 20. Police said the man and his friends got their truck stuck in the snow and, since they didn't have a cell phone, decided to shoot a handgun in the air to get people's attention so help would come.

In addition to Indiana law, many cities and towns have ordinances prohibiting the firing of firearms within their jurisdictions.

For example, Portage prohibits people from firing guns in the city unless it is for personal protection or to protect crops from small pests on plots of land 10 acres or larger, Portage also prohibits the use of pellet guns, BB guns or bows and arrows.

Valparaiso also prohibits the shooting of firearms, air guns and pellet guns. In addition, it is illegal to use a bow and arrow in a manner that endangers people's safety or property. Valparaiso police said they do see violations, like when someone tried to shoot deer a few years ago on Bullseye Lake Road.

People who live in unincorporated Porter County -- the areas outside towns and cities -- are allowed to hunt, target shoot and otherwise shoot weapons, said Porter County police Lt. Chris Eckert.

However, Eckert said people are required to have the proper backstop while target shooting, and they must not endanger any people or property while hunting or shooting.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on April 15, 2009 08:44 AM
Posted to Indiana Law