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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Ind. Law - "Opposition growing to gun bill: Questions, concerns arise over firearm at sporting events"

Updating this story from Tuesday on Senate Bill 292 – which would pre-empt local regulations on firearms, Maureen Hayden of CNHI newspaper has this story today - some quotes:

INDIANAPOLIS — Legislation that would bar local units of government from restricting firearms is raising questions about how it would impact sporting events in publicly-owned facilities, including the venue that is home to the 2012 Super Bowl.

Under the bill, municipal corporations — such as the one that owns Lucas Oil Stadium and Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis — would be barred from banning guns in those facilities, as is the current practice.

Among those who’ve voiced opposition to the bill are the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns and Indianapolis Colt’s owner Jim Irsay. Irsay sent out a tweet on the social media site, Twitter, late last week opposing the gun bill and asking others to join him. * * *

[SB 292] passed the Senate Monday and now moves to the House.

There are exemptions in the bill for courthouses and schools. But local regulations banning guns in libraries, parks, and municipal buildings without courts, including stadiums and arenas would be void. CIB board member Brenda Myers, who represents Boone, Hendricks and Hamilton counties on the board, said CIB members are concerned about the bill’s impact.

“With the size of our buildings, and the number of people who come into them, it causes us great concern that we could not put restrictions in place to ensure those spaces are safe,” Myers said.

Myers said the bill, as currently written, raises more questions for municipal corporations than it answers. Among them are the insurance and security costs, both of which would rise.

“We really don’t know what the impact could be,” Myers said.

The co-author of the gun bill, state Sen. Brent Steele, R-Bedford, said fears about the bill are overblown.

He said that while the bill would bar CIB and other municipal corporations, as well as counties, cities and towns from restricting legal firearms from being brought into most of their facilities, it would not restrict a private organization staging an event from barring weapons. * * *

Steele said the concerns about the CIB-owned facilities had been “worked out.” But CIB board members apparently still had concerns, and voted on Monday — the day the bill was passed out of the Senate — to have the legislation clarified as to how it would impact entertainment and sports facilities owned by local units of government. * * *

The bill is being vehemently opposed by the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns who say the bill robs local communities from making decisions on how best to protect their communities.

Democratic State Sen. Tim Lanane, who is also the city attorney in Anderson, is an opponent. He, too, thinks the bill strips local governments of their “home rule” rights to restrict firearms in public venues.

But he thinks that opposition will fall on deaf ears.

“It’ll take somebody big to stop this,” Lanane said. “I’m not convinced that opposition from every mayor and city council in the state could halt this.”

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 16, 2011 04:33 PM
Posted to Indiana Law