INDIANAPOLIS — Monday night the City-County Council will get its first look at Proposal 156 which would enact sweeping changes to gun laws in Marion County, but only if the General Assembly agrees.
”I think that the mayor of Indianapolis is definitely trying to make a statement that these are measures that he thinks are important to protect public safety but I think the chances that the General Assembly will take this up and act on it are between none and none,” said IU Maurer School of Law School Professor Jody Madeira.
Mayor Joe Hogsett is proposing to raise the legal age to purchase a firearm in Marion County to 21, ban “semiautomatic assault weapons”, roll back permitless carry and prohibit concealed carry of a gun.
”Since the passage of the preemptory legislation, gun violence has continued to increase but for the last year-and-a-half and too many guns on the street are a problem, and taking them off seems to me to be a matter of local discretion,” said Hogsett. ”What’s okay for other areas of the state, that ought to be left to those local officials, just like what’s best for Indianapolis ought to be left to Indianapolis officials.”
As of Sunday night, while the city’s overall homicide total is slightly ahead of 2022’s pace, the number of gun homicides has increased to 85 compared to 76 on this date a year ago.
As of late May, the number of non-fatal shootings in Indianapolis dropped from 254 in 2022 to 237 this year.
“I think this is an important message to send to the legislature that this is how seriously Indianapolis takes its gun safety interest,” said Hogsett.
The Republican candidate challenging Hogsett in the November mayoral election said that if the incumbent had taken the city’s gun safety interest seriously, he would have introduced these proposals during the just-completed General Assembly to give state lawmakers a chance to consider enabling legislation that would be needed to allow Indianapolis local ordinances to be enforced.
”There’s not teeth to this proposal,” said businessman and former city-county councilor Jefferson Shreve. “It’s not a plan, it’s a proposal that is entirely dependent on buy in from the General Assembly, and if the administration had an earnest intent to move any parts of this forward, any elements forward, it would have been part of the legislative package in this session or in the prior year because we have had an escalating trend line of gun violence in our city that isn’t anything new.
”We need to pivot from that reactive policing posture to a proactive community facing where we’ve got enough officers on the street to be visible and present to listen and get in front of some of this gun violence.”
Both men said they would consider talks on city support of gun safety and awareness training and believe that adults should be held accountable when guns fall into the hands of children.
Madeira said essentially the only control local authorities have over guns in their communities is empowering employers to regulate whether employees can be armed while on the job, establishing zoning regulations for gun stores, prohibiting firearms from certain government offices, providing private groups the option of establishing gun-free zones when utilizing public property and restricting guns in hospitals.
Upon introduction Monday night, Proposal 156 will be referred to the Council’s Public Safety and Criminal Justice Committee for a public hearing.