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Indianapolis parks: no carry currently permitted

Discussion in 'Activism Discussion and Planning' started by dburkhead, Sep 17, 2008.

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  1. dburkhead

    dburkhead Member

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    In Indianapolis/Marion County, there are two provisions of the Municipal Code that forbid the carrying of weapons on certain properties. I am planning a letter campaign to try to get that changed. The letter is to go out to my councillor (their spelling, not mine) and the four At Large councillors. I am hoping to encourage others to write similar letters. Comments and constructive criticism appreciated.

    The text of my letter:

    Dear XXXX:

    One of the basic rights individuals possess in the United States is the right of Self Defense. Although our police are diligent and hardworking, they cannot be everywhere and so cannot be expected to be immediately present when an individual or group is threatened by those who would do them harm. This unfortunate fact is recognized by the courts, which have determined that the police have no responsibility to the protection of an individual's safety. This is not because the police would not wish to protect the individual, but stems from the simple fact that they cannot. No matter how much they might wish to, there is simply no way to guarantee that the police will arrive in time to prevent serious harm to an individual faced with violent attack.

    The laws of Indiana, through the "Personal Protection" License To Carry Handgun, recognizes the need of individuals to be able to provide for their own defense when threatened with violence. Only individuals who have passed a background check, ensuring they have no history of violent or other severe crime, may obtain such a license. The Supreme court, in the recent Heller decision, affirmed the right of law abiding individuals to firearms for self defense in their homes and Indiana law implicitly recognizes that right outside the home.

    It is, therefore, with great concern that I see in the Municipal Code of the consolidated government of Indianapolis and Marion County, provisions that would strip individuals of the right to have available the tools of effective self defense without providing adequate substitute, specifically, sections 451-6 and part of 631-108, as follows:

    451-6:
    It shall be unlawful for any person, unless authorized by resolution of the board of directors of the department of waterworks, to discharge any firearms or have possession of any firearms or other explosive devices, or to endanger others by the use of any weapon, article or device, along or upon any reservoir or property owned, controlled or leased by the department of waterworks located in Marion County. Traditional fireworks celebrations and similar activities approved by the board of directors are not prohibited by this section.

    631-108
    It shall be unlawful for any person, unless authorized by resolution of the board of parks and recreation, to discharge any firearms or have possession of any firearms or other explosive devices, or to endanger others by the use of any weapon, article or device, within any park, playground or on any property controlled or leased by the department of parks and recreation, or on which a concession has been granted by it.

    In both cases it is entirely valid to prohibit the discharge of a firearm excepting in cases of defense of oneself or others, but prohibiting the mere possession of firearms by properly licensed individuals legally present at these kinds of locations is excessive and does, in fact, work against the interests of public safety. By prohibiting firearms in these areas the City-County creates an area where criminals can have confidence that their victims will be unable to effectively defend against them. While some individuals and groups might express concern that removing such restrictions will lead to greater crime and violence, history has repeatedly shown that permitting law abiding citizens to carry arms simply does not lead to an increase in violent crime. If anything, the reverse is true. And, lacking evidence that such restrictions actually reduce crime, there is no pressing government need to maintain such a ban, particularly in the light of the Supreme Court's recent ruling that the Right to Keep and Bear Arms is an individual, not a collective, right.

    Therefore, it is my request that the City-County Council take immediate action to amend these two sections of the Municipal code, removing the phrase "or have possession of" from each of them. This will have the effect of better serving the needs of the electorate as well as bringing Indianapolis further into line with the spirit of the recent Supreme Court ruling.
     
  2. ilbob

    ilbob Member

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    i think Indiana has state pre-emption, although there may be some grandfathered cities.
     
  3. dburkhead

    dburkhead Member

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    Preemption only applies to laws passed after 1994. I'm not sure when the relevant sections of the Municipal Code were passed.

    Edit: Just checked. Waterworks one appears to date to 2005--although that's just a renumbering of a preexisting law whose age is not listed. The parks one is dated 1975 so it's not preempted.
     
  4. El Tejon

    El Tejon Member

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    ilbob, Indiana did their preemption so that cities with high African American populations, like Gary, would not have their laws invalidated.
     
  5. ilbob

    ilbob Member

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    or perhaps to make it more pallitable to the legislature. a lot of state legislators are real serious about home rule issues. not real sure why.
     
  6. dburkhead

    dburkhead Member

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    Okay, here's the current version of the letter. The current plan is for it to go out Monday unless, based on what feedback I get here or elsewhere, I decide it needs further revision.

    And the appended text of the code is:
     
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