|LEGISLATIVE REPORT 3rd Quarter 2011|
|Written by Bill Dowden, Legislative Director|
|Sunday, 07 August 2011 16:26|
In the spring issue of the Shooting Sports News it was reported that several bills favorable to law-abiding Hoosiers' possession and use of firearms had been introduced in the General Assembly. At that time, a couple of important Senate bills -- SB411 and SB154 -- had passed both houses. Senator Brent Steele's SB154 provides for possession of a loaded handgun on off-road vehicles or snowmobiles by persons with a license to carry. Senate Bill 411 by Senators Johnny Nugent and Jim Tomes strengthens last year's "parking lot" bill. That corrects the problem of some large employers attempting to subvert the intent of that bill by coercing employees into registering with the employer any firearms locked in their vehicle and parking in a designated area.
Two very important bills -- SB292 and SB506 -- had passed the Senate by large majorities, but were stalled in the House as a result of the Democrats walking out. SB292 (state pre-emption of firearms law) was written by Senator Jim Tomes to bring statewide uniformity to firearms rules in the face of a patchwork of local ordinances and rules which varied from one end of the state to the other. Senate Bill 506 by Senators Tomes and Kruse adds transporting a handgun without a "license to carry" to a shooting range or safety course to the existing permitted instances such as from a gun store to one's home.
In view of having new Republican leadership in the House and the significant bi-partisan majority of members who carry "A" ratings from the NRA, those two bills should have passed handily when the Democrats returned from Illinois. Senate Bill 506 passed the House by a vote of 84 to 13 on April 13; but when SB292 was scheduled for action, the opposition lobbying went into high gear. The behind-the-scenes lobbying came primarily from the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns and Indianapolis spokesmen who supposedly were concerned about the Colts and Pacers.
In response to that lobbying, the House leadership had amendments introduced which would have effectively neutered the bill which the Senate had passed by a vote of 38 to 12. This action by the House delayed passage of the bill to the point where it appeared time would run out for this year and the bill would fail. Senator Tomes, a man who stands by his principles, continued holding firm in his commitment to gun owners, and, with only hours to spare, was successful in getting his pre-emption bill passed by both houses.
The main point of Senate Bill 292 is that effective July 1, 20ll, any local ordinance or rule enacted before, on, or after June 30, 20ll, which would regulate firearms, ammunition, or firearms accessories is, with very specific exceptions, void. You may access the full text of this or any other bill at the General Assembly website: www.in.gov/legislative.
Senator Tomes has in his first year as an Indiana State Senator earned the respect and gratitude of all law-abiding Hoosier gun owners for his intrepid defense of their constitutional rights. Each of us need to follow his example and watch very carefully for any attempts at all levels of government -- local, state, federal, or United Nations -- to infringe upon Americans' right to keep and bear arms. You may be sure that enemies of that right will not cease their efforts.