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Gun bills on the move in the Indiana Senate

From Indiana Law Blog:

Current law provides that a person who does not possess a valid handgun license may not carry a handgun in any vehicle or on or about the person’s body unless the person: (1) is in the person’s dwelling or fixed place of business or on the person’s property; or (2) is carrying the handgun unloaded and in a secure wrapper from the place where the handgun was purchased to the person’s dwelling or fixed place of business, between a handgun repair shop and the person’s dwelling or fixed place of business, or from one dwelling or fixed place of business to another.

SB 506, which was approved in the Senate Committee on Corrections, Criminal, and Civil Matters by a vote of 9-1 today, allows a person to carry a handgun on or about the person’s body without being licensed to carry a handgun if: (1) the person is in or on property, or in a vehicle, that is owned, leased, rented, or otherwise legally controlled by the person; (2) the person is lawfully present in or on private property, or in a vehicle, that is owned, leased, rented, or otherwise legally controlled by another person; (3) the person is carrying the handgun at a shooting range, while attending a firearms instructional course, or while engaged in a legal hunting activity; or (4) the handgun is unloaded and securely wrapped.

Kevin Rader of WTHR 13 reported on the vote on this evening’s newscast. The video isn’t posted yet, but the story quotes Sen. Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis), the only”no” voter, as asking:

“If you allow people without a license to drive around with a gun in their car, doesn’t that smack in the face of our licensing procedure? Why go get a license?”

SB 411, which may also have passed out of the same committee today [ILB update – see below] appears to be a companion to last session’s “take a gun to work” law. As reported in this story about the new law on July 6, 2010:

It is considered the most controversial law to take effect in Indiana this year: Now for the first time, employers cannot stop employees from taking a gun to work as long as the employees have a permit to carry and keep it locked in their cars and out of sight.

Under the new bill passed out of Senate committee today, however, employees would no longer need the permit to carry. (Here is more on the 2010 law, in this July 2, 2010 entry headed “Ind. Law – Take a gun to work law goes into effect.”)

 Maureen Hayden of the CNHI Statehouse Bureau reported on SB 411 yesterday in the Anderson Herald Bulletin:

The NRA has asked its members to contact Indiana lawmakers to urge them to support new legislation that would allow employers to be sued if they require applicants to disclose information about gun ownership or require employees to reveal if they have weapons or ammunition in their cars. * * * The author of Senate Bill 411, dubbed “the Parking Lot 2.0 bill” by the NRA, is state Sen. Johnny Nugent of Lawrenceburg. Nugent said he expects a repeat of last year’s arguments that pit the NRA against business interests that advocated that employers had personal property rights that allowed them to forbid firearms on company property.

“I’ve been a strong supporter of individual property rights,” Nugent said. “I understand how employers might feel the way they do. But there are things that trump those property rights, and one of them is the defense of my life.”

In the 2010 session, NRA lobbyists argued that citizens had a constitutional right to self-protection that doesn’t stop when they drive onto their employer’s property.

Indiana lawmakers agreed and passed a bill that allowed employees to keep their legally permitted firearms in their locked vehicles while parked on company property. The law allowed some employers, including schools and day care operators, to be exempt.

But the law failed to address what employers could do to find out if their workers had guns in their cars, or what action they could take to verify those guns were legally permitted.

In response, some employers have created designated parking areas for employees who carry guns in their cars and have begun asking employees to provide more information about those guns, including serial numbers. * * *

The NRA, in an advisory sent to its members recently, contends “numerous Indiana employers, both large and small, have falsely declared themselves exempt” from the 2010 law, which went into effect last July.

The NRA also contends some Indiana employers have created “onerous requirements” of gun-owning employees, including requiring employees to provide detailed descriptions of weapons in their vehicles.

[Updated 1/26/11] Kevin Allen of the South Bend Tribune reports today that SB 411, discussed above, also was passed out of committee by a 9-1 vote. 

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