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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Ind. Gov't. - "Bill allows legislative employees to carry guns"

Good story this afternoon by Niki Kelly of the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette on this morning's committeee hearing on SB 259, under which:

Legislative employees would get special permission to carry firearms in the Indiana Statehouse and adjacent state buildings under a bill passed by a Senate committee Wednesday.

But the public and many other state employees would still be banned.

Sen. Jim Tomes, R-Wadesville, authored Senate Bill 259 allowing professional, full-time staff of the Indiana House and Senate to carry a handgun at the state capitol complex.

It passed committee 6-3 with no one testifying for or against the legislation.

Sen. Brent Steele, R-Bedford, said when he first came to the legislature in 1994 it was common practice for attorneys, legislative assistants and others to carry handguns - with proper permits.

"Somebody issued an order that people we trust with our lives around here...all the sudden these crazy people radical as they are, couldn't carry a handgun," he said incredulously.

He also noted that legislative work often isn't done until late at night when it is dangerous to walk to cars.

Reporter Kelly's story continues:
The Indiana Department of Administration passed rules in 2007 - under then Gov. Mitch Daniels - banning firearms and other deadly weapons from the government center campus, including visitors and state employees.

"It is the policy of the state to protect the public peace, health, and safety and to preserve the lives and property of the people working or having business in the Indiana government center campus and to assure the continuity of state government operations," according to the rules.

Specific exemptions were given then for law enforcement, legislators and members of the judiciary.

The rules were readopted in 2013 - under Gov. Mike Pence.

ILB: A copy of this morning's amendment to the proposal, to include legislators in addition to their employees, is not available online yet, but the bill as introduced would add a new chapter IC 2-3-10 titled "Legislative Employees and Handguns."

Already existing in the law relating to handguns, IC 35-47, is a chapter 16 headed "Possession of Firearms by Judicial Officers."

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 20, 2016 01:30 PM
Posted to Indiana Government