Saturday, January 09, 2010

Gun Bills In The Indiana General Assembly

in SB0025, Senator Johnny Nugent would like for you to be able to keep your gun locked in your car at work and play! Mind you, there is no provision at all for you to take it out; and that may be a fair compromise between the divergent views on this issue.

Sen. Greg Walker gives us SB0200 (and, confusingly, SB0276), the Indiana Firearms Freedom Act: "Provides that a firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition that: (1) is manufactured commercially or privately in Indiana from basic materials; (2) can be manufactured without the inclusion of any significant parts imported from another state; and (3) remains within the borders of Indiana; is not subject to federal law or federal regulation, including registration, under the authority of the United States Congress to regulate interstate commerce." Seems to be a lot of that goin' around. Y'know, if three States do it, they'll think it's a movement.

HB1065 is a "Katrina" Bill, prohibiting the state, a political subdivision, or any other person from prohibiting or restricting the lawful possession, transfer, sale, transportation, storage, display, or use of firearms or ammunition during a declared disaster emergency, energy emergency, or local disaster emergency. It's also got an "okay if its locked in your car" provision. Representative Bischoff (D-Southeastern IN).

Conversely, HB1070 is plain "Katrina" bill, simply rolling back previous provisions allowing local regulation of firearms under a declared disaster emergency. Representative Murphy.

Senator Walker again, with SB0195, limiting access to the License To Carry Handgun (LTCH) database: "...any information concerning an applicant for or a person who holds a license to carry a handgun may be released to a federal, state, or local government entity: (1) for law enforcement purposes; or (2) to determine the validity of a license to carry a handgun," and nobody else.

On the bad side, Representatives Shelli VanDenburgh (D-near Chicago) and Linda Lawson (D-near Chicago) want to stick us permit-holders with HB1058, requiring immediate disclosure to law enforcement that we have a gun if we are carrying when stopped. I predict madcap hijinks will ensue, as Indiana LEOs are in no wise used to hearing, "Officer, I have a gun," when they make traffic stops. (In gun school, I was told to keep my yap shut about it unless I was open-carrying or about to be searched; the rationale was "less excitement." Less excitement is good. So is less unnecessary fiddling with guns, but how many LEOs are going to want to let you hang onto your sidearm once they know? This is a lousy idea all around).

I have previously mentioned Representative Peggy Welch's HB1068, which also limits full access to the LTCH database to law enforcement. Differs from SB0195 in that, "...general information concerning the issuance of licenses to carry handguns in Indiana may be released to a person conducting journalistic or academic research but only if all personal information that could disclose the identity of any person who holds a license to carry a handgun has been removed from the general information." Rep. L. Lawson's signed onto this one as a co-author along with Reps. Koch and Blanton.

...The legislature has also taken up the pressing, thorny issue of motorcycle handlebar height; your ape-hangers might someday be required to be no higher than your shoulders when you're in the saddle. This is actually an improvement: current law says 15" and no more, which makes the little fellows look badder of a** than the big guys. IMO, extremely high handlebars tend to be self-limiting, or at least select harshly for skill.

Remember, state legislators: do something good for gun-owners, get a free link! Worth what it costs, but hey, whatever.


Stranger said...

The "I gotta gun" law seems to be a product of a couple of squirrels (or ward heelers for the Chicago machine, which was politically powerful as far as South Bend and Rensselaer when I was operating out of Valpariso) who like to make cops even more nervous than they already are when they make a stop.

Those declarations serve no useful purpose, but only further increase the 1 in 8 chance of an a jumpy LEO shooting a civilian "in error."

"Katrina bills are good," but the worst thing that came out of Katrina was not the death and destruction but the virtual repeal of the Posse Comitatus Act. Someone is going to pay dearly for that in blood, sooner rather than later.


Anonymous said...

Here in Texas if we have a weapon and we are stopped we are required to inform the LEO that we have a licensed firearm. No issues here that I am aware of. Most are comfortable. One even asked my wife, "What kinda gun ya got?"

Anonymous said...

BTW, it's a Colt Government .380

Rev. Paul said...

We also have "immediate disclosure" when approached by LEOs in the course of official duty, here in Alaska. Massad Ayoob recommends, "Officer, I carry concealed, and am carrying now" as opposed to "I've got a gun". Since everybody in Alaska carries 99% of the time, it's a good way to avoid misunderstandings.

Turk Turon said...

In Virginia, the LEO's in-car laptop can tie your license plate to your CHL, so, unless you're from out of state, they know before they approach your window.

wv: slumbur
Sleeping in the ghetto.

Roberta X said...

Turk, if LEOs have to know, that sounds like a good way.

Ian Argent said...

The problem with either notification by runinng the plate or with mandatory announcement is that both are feel-good solutions that only affect the law-abiding...

The notification by running plates is especially prone to false negatives - say I don't carry but my wife does, and my wife is driving my car; the cop has no idea. Nor does the cop know if he's approaching my (recently stolen and unreported) car that the choir-boy in the front seat isn't going in for his 3rd+ felony...

Likewise, as a law-abiding person, I've got no problem letting Officer Friendly know (in a non-confrontational manner) that I am legally packing (assuming, for the nonce, that it is legal to carry with a permit, not that a permit is a defense to illegally carrying). But the guy that Officer Friendly NEEDS to know has a .32 gun in his pocket for fun; he's not going to let Officer Friendly know until it's too late.

The dangers of a false negative are high for cops, and, in states such as GA or MA right now, it would be a 5th amendment violation to require announcement.

charles said...

The locked-in-your car bills are a nice step in the right direction, but note that they effectively outlaw firearms in cars at schools and colleges and universities.

Right now, "school" is so vaguely defined in Indiana law that colleges may not be covered as prohibited areas, but this would make them so.

Roberta X said...

Not seeing the redefinition of "school," Charles, and I'd like a read from a lawyer on how this interacts with existing law governing possession in or near schools by LTCH holders. Remember, Indiana law has little provision for any transport of a handgun by persons who lack permits unless they are buying it, selling it or taking it to get fixed.

charles said...

Sorry for the late reply, didn't check back for a while. "School" is not being redefined, but both have language at part (5) that specifically adds in a site of "postsecondary education" as a separate and additional -- to (4)"school" -- prohibited place to park a car with a gun.

If I remember correctly, existing law only prohibits possession on or within a certain distance of "school" grounds or a place where a school function is taking place, unless you are a school employee or an invitee to that function.

Public colleges and universities -- I do remember something about private colleges being different, not allowed? -- discourage possession through administrative means for students and staff, but the average person who just parks his car at the stadium to catch a game or a concert can only be asked to leave if "caught." They aren't breaking the law until they refuse to leave and become trespassers.
The new law appears to make that same person a criminal.

charles said...

XXXXXX The new law appears to make that same person a criminal even before the are asked to leave.

Punctuation got a little rough up there, I hope it makes sense. Also, IANAL, I just like to read the statutes once in a while to find out if the the line between legal and illegal has moved.

charles said...

the --> they and strike half of doubled the.

That said, I would like to see a good locked cars bill passed, because right now I could lose my livelihood for having a firearm to protect myself during working hours. I just don't want to trade some of my right here for a little there.