INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana State Sen. Fady Qaddoura said a new bill he plans to file in the next few weeks seeks to counteract the state’s pre-emption law — a law that’s been on the books since 2011 and prohibits Indiana cities, counties, and towns from creating their own gun control regulations.
”My argument to the General Assembly is that, ‘Quit complaining about gun violence at the same time when you are tying the hands of the locals to come up with solutions,'” Sen. Qaddoura said.
If the senator’s bill is passed, Indiana municipalities could create their own gun control regulations such as requiring the safe storage of firearms, requiring a license to carry a handgun, and expanding background checks for firearm purchases.
There is, however, a caveat. Any potential regulations under consideration by a municipality must be backed by a local law enforcement agency and comply with both the U.S. and Indiana State Constitutions.
”We had these solutions implemented in the past in Indiana, they were constitutional,” Sen. Qaddoura said.
Gun rights advocates, like 2nd Amendment lawyer Guy Relford, said certain provisions in the bill would most likely not hold constitutional muster, including provisions that would allow municipalities to prohibit the purchase of assault weapons and raise the minimum age to purchase a firearm to 21.
”It’s going to be dead on arrival in the Indiana General Assembly,” Relford said. ”I think getting more input from more sources including our LEO’s is fine, but I also don’t think that’s an excuse to pass what ultimately would be found to be unconstitutional gun control.”
Relford also said the bill, if passed, would create a patchwork system of inconsistent laws, causing confusion between municipalities.
”The whole purpose of the Firearms Preemption Act is to prohibit exactly what they’re attempting to do here,” Relford said.
Sen. Qaddoura said the bill isn’t designed to cause confusion, but rather to empower local communities.
”We were left with no other options by the General Assembly except to empower the locals,” Sen. Qaddoura said. “So, to remove that inconsistency, we need a statewide solution that the General Assembly refuses to act on.”
The President of Hoosiers Concerned about Gun Violence said the group supports the new bill in its entirety. This comes several months after Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita found an Indianapolis gun control ordinance unconstitutional. The ordinance is currently not enforceable under the law.