INDIANAPOLIS — In what has been termed an “update to the City’s gun violence reduction strategy,” Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett is prepared to challenge the Indiana General Assembly in its next session to curb access to firearms in Marion County.
During an address at the IMPD Academy this afternoon, Hogsett said that an ordinance will be introduced before the City-County Council June 5 that would ban semi-automatic rifles in Marion County, raise the age to purchase a firearm to 21 and rollback the 2022 law banning gun permits.
A city ordinance in of itself would not effect change overnight, however, it would allow local officials to begin enforcing tighter gun restrictions immediately should state lawmakers enact such legislation.
”Any discussion of gun safety efforts is inevitably politicized,” said Hogsett. “I have no doubt that the efforts announced today will draw the ire of the gun lobby who uses financial investment and candidates to stand in the way of common sense gun safety measures.”
As of last July 1, police across Indiana were rendered mostly powerless to inquire about the legality of the possession of a gun unless officers were investigating a specific crime.
”I’m glad to see now we’re going to make a run at it,” said IMPD Chief Randal Taylor. “I know its an uphill battle but I think Indianapolis especially is looking forward to see what we can do with that.”
Merchants and business owners in Broad Ripple Village have recently lamented that IMPD is powerless to stop the influx of guns being carried out in the open due to Indiana’s Constitutional Carry law.
IMPD has investigated several shootings in Broad Ripple this year, including one that lead to an officer-involved wounding of a man who fired at officers last winter.
To boost the ranks of IMPD, which is currently 300 officers short of its authorized strength of 1,843, the mayor has announced $10,000 signing bonuses for new officers will now be rolled into $71,000 salaries for first-year patrolmen and women, along with $2,500 retention bonuses for veteran officers on the job as of next January 1.
The city will also hire three new criminal attorneys for assignment the next two years at the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana to work exclusively on the federal prosecution of violent felony defendants from Marion County.
IMPD will step up its investigations of traditionally troubled properties such as apartment buildings, bars and other locations that have been sites of repeated gun violence and the city will cite such property owners for maintaining a common nuisance.
The city will advise groups accessing public property such as parks, plazas and streets that they have the option to declare the site a Gun Free Zone for the duration of their event and IMPD will assist in prohibiting firearms at the location.
”The individuals who are holding these events, that’s probably one of their number one concern is the outright violence that you cannot control,” said Erik Davenport, founder of Resources Organized in Kommunity. “I think that will probably be the most utilized proposal that he has put out there. I think that will be very effective especially when you talk about these all these community groups that want to have these outside events at locations.”
The Office of Public Health and Safety will launch the “I Choose Peace” campaign which will seek to encourage businesses and groups to invest in anti-violence programs and declare events as Gun Free Zones this summer.
”Some of these programs that are being currently implemented right now are being effective even though we’re seeing this high number of shootings because you must take into consideration that if these programs were not implemented there would probably be a much higher level of gun violence in our community,” said Davenport. ”All moneys that come into the community to address conflict resolution and awareness of gun violence is going to be helpful.”
OPHS will also hold “Summer in the City” programs which will include weeklong classes on barbering, financial literacy, cooking and nutrition and E-gaming with programs aimed at younger children than in previous summers.
IMPD will give away 500 gunlocks in June to encourage gun safety as detectives currently investigate an average of nine accidental shootings every month.