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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Ind. Law - "Legislators pushing looser gun laws this session"

This is odd, an AP story today published in a number of out-of-state papers, attributed to the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, but no sign of the story in the Fort Wayne paper itself. Here it is, as published in the Connecticut Post. Some quotes:

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) — Indiana lawmakers appear determined to ease state gun regulations this year despite reservations from local officials and, some advocates say, gun owners themselves. * * *

A raft of bills that would relax gun restrictions is working its way through the Legislature, including bills that would allow handguns to be more freely carried without a permit and make it permissible to take guns into public buildings in most cases, The Journal Gazette reported.

Senate Bill 292 essentially prohibits local governments, libraries and mass transit systems from regulating guns in any manner. That would eliminate prohibitions against guns in most municipal buildings and public parks.

State law prohibiting guns on school grounds would stand. And the bill doesn't prohibit state regulations on guns, such as state rules passed in 2007 banning guns from the Statehouse and adjoining government center, though lawmakers get an exception.

There's another exception for buildings with courts. But Helmke points out that zoning board meetings and other sessions also can get heated. The bill does allow governing bodies to restrict "the intentional display of a firearm at a public meeting."

Randy Brown, general manager for Fort Wayne Memorial Coliseum, expressed concern that the bill won't allow the county-run coliseum board to ban weapons for certain events.

"There are some events that are more high risk than others," Brown said. "Legislating away our flexibility is a concern. We are asking for a disaster in this state." * * *

Another gun bill that has passed the full House would allow people to more freely carry handguns without permits, in their vehicle or on the property of someone who has given consent. Supporters say this would help hunters. Currently, Hoosiers can have guns at their home or business with no permit. But they do need a permit to carry handguns elsewhere.

[Paul Helmke, former Fort Wayne mayor and head of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence] said the bill is one step closer to "not having licensing at all."

[Sen. Jim Tomes, R-Wadesville, the bill's sponsor] said there is no mention of having a license for guns in the Indiana or U.S. constitutions.

"It would be nice but unlikely to get rid of licenses," he said. "That would raise anxiety."

Yet another bill that already has passed both chambers would prohibit employers from asking workers about guns and ammunition that they might have in their vehicles and prevent them from requiring employees with weapons to park in separate areas.

It's related to a bill passed last year that barred employers from prohibiting employees from having weapons in their vehicles on company parking lots. * * *

In Indiana gun-owning households, The Journal Gazette said, only 9 percent wanted less strict gun laws; 42 percent said the laws should be stricter; and 45 percent supported keeping the laws the same.

Here are some background ILB entries:

Posted by Marcia Oddi on April 17, 2011 03:14 PM
Posted to Indiana Law