[r63] Messmer Report: Gun laws are now more uniform and simpler to understand

Posted by: Zach Weismiller  | Friday, June 24, 2011

We are lucky that in America we are guaranteed certain rights, including the right to bear arms as stated in the Second Amendment. This year in the General Assembly we passed two pieces of legislation that will help protect and strengthen those rights in Indiana, and one that made reporting requirements more consistent for all types of firearm purchases.

One of the bills this session adds rifles and shotguns to the current handgun laws, making it illegal for people to give false information or evidence when they purchase a firearm. Previously, those two specific types of guns were not included. If a person is convicted of giving false information when purchasing a gun, they may face up to two to eight years in prison depending on the circumstances.

There were two other pieces of legislation that received a lot of attention this past session.

The first prohibits local governments from making laws that regulate firearms, ammunition or firearm accessories so that all laws regarding guns are uniform across the state. The legislation also allows individuals to file an action against any local government that attempts to enact policies if they feel the policy has hurt them. Our intention was to make it less confusing when Hoosiers or people traveling through Indiana are transporting a firearm between different cities and towns.

The second piece that prompted many discussions is legislation that allows a person to carry a handgun without being licensed under certain specifications. Transporting a handgun will now be allowed if they own the property or vehicle they are in, or are given consent by the person who owns the property or the vehicle they are in. A handgun will also be allowed on a shooting range if an individual is taking an instructional course or if they are using it to legally hunting.

To be legal, a person that is transporting a handgun without a license must have it unloaded and have it in a case, locked out of reach of the person transporting it, such as locked in the trunk of your vehicle.

One exception to the rule is if a person has been convicted of domestic battery they may not carry a handgun unless their right to is restored by a court.

I have heard several misconceptions that this law allows you to carry a handgun anywhere, but that is not true. This legislation will only make it simpler to transport your gun to and from a gun range or on your property or vehicle without breaking the law.

These laws all go into effect on July 1 and I believe will allow us to better protect ourselves and ensure there is less confusion about handgun laws across the state. If you have any questions about these laws please contact my office at 1-800-382-9841 or H63@in.gov.

Thank you for your continued support.

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Rep. Mark Messmer (R-Jasper)