Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett is running for re-election this year, but I don’t think his new gun control proposals are nothing more than a campaign stunt. Instead, it looks like part of a concerted effort on the part of anti-gun politicians and their allies in the gun control lobby to take on firearms preemption laws around the country.
Like many other states, Indiana limits the authority of local governments to impose their own gun laws, leaving it up to the state legislature instead to provide a uniform body of statutes governing the keeping and bearing of arms. The state’s preemption law forbids cities like Indianapolis from regulating “firearms, ammunition, and firearm accessories; the ownership, possession, carrying, transportation, registration, transfer, and storage of firearms, ammunition, and firearm accessories; and commerce in and taxation of firearms, firearm ammunition, and firearm accessories,” but on Thursday Hogsett said to hell with all that and announced the city council will soon take up several restrictions that blatantly violate the firearms preemption law.
Hogsett plans to go before the City-County Council and propose a ban on semi-automatic weapons, raising the age to purchase a gun to 21, and ending permitless and concealed carry in the city.
“If state preemption is overturned by the legislature or by the courts, there will be no delay in implementing the most basic safety measures,” Hogsett said. “That is why, today, I am announcing that we will submit to our City-County Council a package of gun safety measures that, if passed, will immediately become law, should state preemption be abolished for the city of Indianapolis.”
Private parties will be able to get city resources, including metal detectors and IMPD officers, to create a gun-free zone if they choose.
We haven’t seen the actual text of the proposed ordinances, but if they’re written in such a way that they won’t take effect or be enforced unless or until the state legislature repeals the firearms preemption law then this is truly nothing more than a bit of vice signaling (I can’t call it virtue signaling when infringing on our fundamental rights is far from virtuous behavior) on the part of Hogsett. If, on the other hand, the Indianapolis city council wants to use these local laws in the hopes of overturning the preemption law in court, as we’ve seen in Columbus, Ohio in recent months, then they’re going to have to try to enforce these provisions at some point.
While Hogsett is keeping his cards close to the vest about enforcement, gun owners and Second Amendment advocates in the city are rightfully concerned about what these ordinances will mean for them in the near future.
Ryan Vaden, with Vaden’s Firearms and Ammunition, said he’s paying close attention to Hogsett’s new proposed gun restrictions.
“I feel like if you can fight for this country, you should be able to sit here and purchase a rifle,” he said.
Vaden said a large portion of his sales are from people ages 18-21.
“What does that do for the city when it comes to young families? A lot of people purchase semi-automatic rifles out of my store that are 19 years old or 18 to protect their families,” Vaden said.
If the new ordinances go through, Vaden said he’s worried it could negatively impact his sales but also create some confusion for his customers.
“We just have to look collectively and find a plan and a process that will work for the city, but also not impose on people’s rights,” Vaden said.
Ideally, that would be the case, but Hogsett is trying to impose on the right to keep and bear arms. That’s the entire point of this whole exercise; blame the gun instead of the individual pulling the trigger, blame the Second Amendment instead of a cracked criminal justice system, and promise greater safety at the expense of our right to protect ourselves. I don’t think his efforts are going to go far, but we’ll be paying close attention as we get closer to the city council’s hearings on the mayor’s intent to infringe on the fundamental right to keep and bear arms.