Since July 1, anyone not otherwise prohibited from possessing a firearm under Indiana law may legally carry a handgun openly or concealed from sight. House Enrolled Act 1296 repealed state law mandating gun owners obtain a license to carry their weapon.
The change in Indiana gun laws isn’t a carte blanche invitation to firearm enthusiasts to carry their handguns with impunity. Private businesses and property owners may restrict weapons in their buildings, homes or on their land.
With so many exceptions in HEA 1296, it’s incumbent upon gun owners to familiarize themselves with the new law’s do’s and don’ts.
They must know where firearms are prohibited and, more importantly, they must be considerate of the rights of businesses and property owners to set their own rules on handguns.
We often disagree with our attorney general, but Todd Rokita is right when it comes to gun owners being mindful of property owner rights – you’re committing criminal trespass by entering a business if you’ve been asked to leave or denied entry.
Should a property owner call the Fort Wayne Police Department concerning an armed individual who won’t leave when asked, it will respond, said Sgt. Chris Felton, a public information officer with the department.
“If they don’t want you, you’ve got to go or you’re going to be arrested for trespassing,” he said. “Please follow the signs posted of whatever area you’re entering in and comply with whatever the business is asking.”
Public venues that lease their property don’t necessarily ban firearms from every event they host.
Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, for example, doesn’t allow handguns at Komets and Mad Ants games, but there can be exceptions.
“Part of the contractual process at (Memorial Coliseum) is for the licensee entering the lease to sign what we call a ‘Weapons/Firearms Ban Designation Form.’ This form allows the licensee to choose whether they want to allow or regulate carrying/possession of firearms/weapons during their event,” Melanie Henkes, executive vice president and general manager of Memorial Coliseum, said in an email to The Journal Gazette. “Should an event organizer want to ban weapons, CSC, who is our contracted security company, can then assist them in producing a security plan that fits their needs.”
At Parkview Field, Mike Nutter, president of the TinCaps, said he can remember only once in 14 years when a gun owner was confronted by security personnel. The weapon was easy to spot, he said. Security informed the person of the event’s no-gun policy.
The person said, “Oh, no problem. I didn’t even know,” Nutter said. “Great dialog. No problem, no issue.”
According to the attorney general’s Gun Owners’ Bill of Rights, Indiana law restricts the carrying of firearms in schools, secure areas of airports, casinos, the Indiana Government Center, penal institutions and on all aircraft. U.S. law also prohibits guns in federal buildings and in “school zones.”
Your employer may ban firearms in your workplace, but state law protects employees who keep a gun locked out of sight in their vehicles.
You may carry a gun to church, as long as the house of worship permits it and there is no school or licensed child care in the same building. You also may carry a gun in a state park, except on property owned by the Army Corps of Engineers.
We’re in a new era of the social contract. Even the Old West wasn’t as laissez-faire about handguns as Hollywood and popular fiction has portrayed it.
We have to respect the law, as well as respect one another.