Indiana AG joins 4 other states to challenge court ruling over gun rights

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill joined four other states in asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn an appeals court ruling they say infringes on gun rights.

In a brief Tuesday, they say the 4th U.S. Circuit Court majority erred in concluding police can frisk someone they believe has a weapon.

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, along with attorneys general from Indiana, Michigan, Texas and Utah, says innocent gun owners have the right to carry weapons "without the fear of being unreasonably searched."

They say existing case law requires police determine someone is dangerous as well as armed.

Hill spoke exclusively to CBS4 about the matter.

"What we’re looking at is making sure there’s proper reading of the rights of gun owners and making sure police officers know what to look for with people who have permits," Hill said. "It’s a tough issue of whether simply having a gun and a permit requires it to be a dangerous situation."

But, Indiana University Maurer School of Law professor Jody Madeira says there are already protections against unreasonable searches.

"It's never just where they would see an individual and decide for no reason or baseless grounds to frisk them," Madeira said.

Instead, she said what the five states are asking the Supreme Court to do could endanger officers and people in the community.

"If they’re deterred from frisking just because they believe a suspect will later sue them for violating their second amendment rights, police officers might be deterred from activity that might save lives," Madeira said. "Not just police lives, but of citizens around them, bystanders."

Hill is known for being tough on crime and a public supporter of anti-violence groups like the Indy Ten Point Coalition.

Hill told CBS4 this particular issue is about the second amendment.

"Simply having a gun and being determined to be potentially dangerous - that’s something that needs to be addressed to make sure we all know exactly what’s going on," Hill said.

There is no word yet on when the Supreme Court will respond to the brief.

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