Skip to comments.Voters may see more guns at polling places(IN)
Posted on 09/21/2012 12:55:52 PM PDT by marktwain
INDIANAPOLIS NOTE: In an earlier version of this story, it was incorrectly reported that state Sen. Jim Tomes, the law's author, encourages gun owners to openly display their firearms in public places. While legal gun owners have the right to do so, Tomes said the intent of his law was to provide a uniform policy for legal firearms carriers statewide. Tomes said he doesnt advise licensed owners to carry openly because it sets those legitimate citizens up as targets for those who intend to commit a crime and causes unnecessary fear among other citizens who are unaware of such firearms laws. Below is a corrected version. We regret the error.
Dont be surprised if you see somebody with a handgun at your local polling place this November.
A 2011 state law that barred local governments from enforcing their own gun restrictions also covers many public buildings where people go to vote.
Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson says the law is clear: Unless the polling place falls under the few exemptions in the law, legal gun owners have the right to openly bear their arms while they vote. That matter has been settled, Lawson said.
But its not quite been put to rest.
Last month, a Zionsville attorney whos built a law practice as the unofficial enforcer of the 2011 law, filed a lawsuit on behalf of a northern Indiana man who was turned away from his polling place in a fire station during the May primary election after he refused to take off his holstered handgun.
Guy Relford thinks his client was a victim of ignorance of the 2011 law and predicts similar incidents may occur with the November election. I routinely get calls from people who say their local officials and local law enforcement dont know or understand the law, Relford said. But ignorance is no defense.
The law in question, known as Indianas firearms pre-emption law, prevents local political subdivisions from having their own firearms ordinances. When it went into effect in July 2011, it also did away with local laws that prevented legal gun owners from carrying their weapons into public places like libraries, parks, city halls and fire stations. The law exempts courthouses and schools, where firearms may still be banned.
State Sen. Jim Tomes, a Republican from Wadesville who authored the law in his freshman year as a legislator, said it was intended for people like Relfords client: Clay Edinger, a retired Marine and Iraq War veteran who is working on his masters degree in theology and studying to become a military chaplain. When Edinger went to vote, with his holstered handgun in plain view, he had a copy of the law with him, but was still turned away.
(The law) was directed at people who have a license to carry a firearm, whove qualified for one, whove gone through the proper background checks with police, Tomes said. Some people imagined that we were going to have people shooting up libraries and parks and that just hasnt happened.
Tomes said Relfords lawsuit has prompted questions about whether he thinks the pre-emption law should be amended to include polling places. His answer: Absolutely not.
While some gun rights advocates may encourage legal gun owners to test the law this fall, Tomes is not doing so and he cautions gun owners to be aware of the public perception of guns. The media reports so many negative stories about guns and gun owners that people are living in fear, Tomes said. People are conditioned to react badly to the sight of guns.
Tomes said the preemption law protects the rights of legal gun owners, but he doesnt encourage licensed gun owners to openly show or display their legal firearms in public places. The intent of the 2011 firearm preemption law was to provide a uniform policy for legal firearms carriers statewide, allowing them to legally carry their firearms in places they couldnt before, he said.
Tomes said his reasoning for not advising open displays is two-fold. First, he said, is that Indianas concealed carry law already allows legally licensed owners to have their firearms on hand in public places in case of an emergency. Openly carrying a firearm in public venues works against the idea of having protection in the case of an emergency by most likely making any legal carrier a target of those who are illegally carrying firearms, Tomes said.
The second reason echoes his concern about how the public perceives the guns. (B)ecause people are not accustomed to seeing an openly carried firearm in public places, its common courtesy to keep them concealed as to not excite unnecessary fear, Tomes said. Most legal firearms carriers are responsible enough to extend this courtesy to fellow Hoosiers, carrying their firearms concealed as a demonstration of respect.
Matt Groeller, president of the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns, said while his organization opposed the firearms pre-emption law when it was debated in the Statehouse, he thinks most communities complying.
Relford is working to make sure they do. Hes filed three lawsuits targeting local governments that he says have violated the law. One involves the City of Hammond, whose officials have told law enforcement not to enforce their local gun bans but have refused to take the local bans off their books. That lawsuit is in the state Court of Appeals. Hes also sued the city-owned zoo in Evansville, after police ordered a gun-carrying zoo visitor to leave the premises after fellow zoo visitors said they were frightened. That suit is pending.
Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
The idea has merit. Those who are willing to defend the sate and self with arms are showing responsibility. Heinlien discussed a similar idea in Starship Troopers, where the franchise was limited to those who were willing risk their lives to defend the country, mostly through military service.
beleive should be believe, and sate should be state.
Can they point to any case, anywhere in the US - or the world for that matter - where an open-carrier was targeted by a violent criminal? Why do they cling to this belief so fervently?
It seems weird to me but a fair number of FReepers seem to think that an open carrier is inviting trouble.
I like the idea of voters being able to carry openly or concealed while voting. I’d like to see the NBP try to intimidate an armed voter.
Law-abiding citizens should be allowed to carry openly or concealed at all times.
It is only the criminal, the defective-in-mind, or those who hate the United States who want 2nd Amendment rights restricted or removed.
“Id like to see the NBP try to intimidate an armed voter.”
If they try it with me they will be looking down the barrel of a .357 Magnum, .357 SIG or 10-mm Auto and they will be in a world of trouble.
It has happened, at least once. But, as it is widely publicized when it happens, I believe it is extremely rare, a "unicorn" event. I believe that CCW carriers are targeted much more frequently. I have posted several stories where CCW carriers were attacked and then had to access their concealed weapon.
This state law should have been utterly unnecessary; the reason being there are multiple felonies incurred by the act "barring someone with a gun from voting."
18 USC § 245 - Federally protected activities says that voting is a federally protected activity (b.1.A).
Furthermore, there is the issue of barring weapons. This is guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment, and so the Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law & Conspiracy Against Rights sections come into play.
First, the Color of Law states Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, willfully subjects any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution [ ] shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if bodily injury results [ ] or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, explosives, or fire, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; [ ]
Now, obviously those saying that weapons are prohibited are obviously contrary to the words of the 2ND Amendment, which says it shall not be infringed.
The Conspiracy one is even more straightforward, If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same; then they are in violation of the law; and obviously there is more than one person involved in the crafting [and implementation] of "local government" laws.
Open carry may not be “inviting trouble”, but you can’t rationally deny that concealed carry has both tactical and social advantages...
Tactical advantages maybe but social advantages is only because America is full of fearful bunnies. Even into the 80s I could walk the aisles of the local grocery store with a shotgun over my shoulder and no body batted an eye.
Open Carry Concealed Carry
Tactical Faster Draw, tactical deterrence Greater surprise
Strategic Armed Citizens a visible presence Uncertainty about who might be carrying
Social Normalize Rights and Defense Does not draw attention to yourself
Tactical Less surprise Slower Draw, less tactical deterrence
Strategic Carriers are identifiable Armed citizens not identified
Social Can draw unwanted attention Does less to normalize rights and defense
If it is widely publicized, then how come I've never heard of it happening anywhere, ever?
I was OC in Phoenix because I didn't have an AZ-recognized CCW, and the sketchy guy who was making a beeline for me from across the street at 10pm acted like he hit a brick wall when the streetlight reflected from my pistol, and hurried off in the opposite direction.
Most criminals aren't swaggering thugs, they're just looking to get as much as possible with as little fuss and effort as possible, and attacking someone you know to be carrying a gun is the OPPOSITE of little fuss and effort, and so that people have this idea that open carry invites attack is just downright weird to me.
If it isn’t concealed, it’s openly carried. It doesn’t matter what kind of holster is used. If folks can see it, it’s open. That’s really all there is to it.
Open Carry Advantages
Tactical - Faster Draw, tactical deterrence, larger handguns easier to carry
Strategic - Armed Citizens a visible presence
Social - Normalize Rights and Defense
Tactical - Less surprise
Strategic - Carriers are identifiable
Social - Can draw unwanted attention
Concealed Carry Advantages
Tactical - Surprise
Strategic - Uncertainty about who is armed creates deterrence
Social - Does not draw unwanted attention
Tactical - Loss of tactical deterrence, slower draw, larger handguns more difficult
Strategic - Presence of armed citizens is uncertain
Social - Less normalization of rights and defense
“If it is widely publicized, then how come I’ve never heard of it happening anywhere, ever?”
Because it is extremely rare. This the only case that I know of in the U.S.
Open Carrier Shot And Killed When Gun Taken By Thug