Last night, the 2014 session of the Indiana General Assembly adjourned sine die. In the eleventh hour, both the state Senate and House agreed on the NRA-supported conference committee report (CCR) for Senate Bill 229. Both legislative chambers passed the measure in an overwhelming manner; by a 38 to 10 vote in the Senate and a 75 to 24 vote in the House of Representatives. SB 229 will now be sent to Governor Mike Pence (R) for his approval.
Authored by state Senator Jim Tomes (R-49) and shepherded through the House by state Representative Sean Eberhart (R-57), SB 229 is a common sense measure which would protect law-abiding gun owners’ rights to transport a firearm. Current Indiana law allows the operator of a vehicle to drive onto school property, but does not allow the operator to leave the firearm locked in the vehicle unattended. SB 229 would allow a law-abiding person to exercise their fundamental right to self-defense without fear of criminal prosecution. The CCR for SB 229 includes the following provisions:
- Prohibits the use of public (taxpayer) funds to be used to conduct a gun “buyback” program
- Allows a firearm that is legally and lawfully possessed to be locked, out of plain sight, in a vehicle while parked on school property
- Removes the “roaming school zone” provision from law that was to be returned on the books as of July 1, 2014 – “roaming school zones” occur when a school function is held at another location not owned by the zoo (i.e. a field trip taking place at a zoo) – law-abiding handgun carry license holders could find themselves facing felony charges if they happened to be carrying a firearm at the same location a school was taking a field trip
Law-abiding citizens should not face criminal prosecution for exercising a right protected by the Constitution. SB 229 is a huge step in the right direction towards keeping law-abiding Hoosiers from being unintentional felons.
Senate Bill 229 will now be sent to Governor Mike Pence for his approval. Please contact Governor Pence and respectfully ask him to sign SB 229 into law. Contact information for the Governor can be found here.
Additionally during this session, Senate Joint Resolution 9 passed in both legislative chambers of the General Assembly. Authored by state Senator Brent Steele (R-44) and sponsored by state Representative Mark Messmer (R-63), SJR 9 would guarantee Hoosiers the right to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife. This proposed constitutional amendment would ensure the preservation of Indiana's rich hunting heritage for future generations. The language in SJR 9 also needs to be passed either next year or in 2016 to be eligible for the 2016 ballot.
Thanks to all NRA members who contacted their state lawmakers on behalf of Second Amendment-related issues this session and thank you to all state legislators who voted to protect your Second Amendment rights and hunting heritage. A special thanks to state Senators Jim Tomes and Brent Steele as well as state Representatives Sean Eberhart, Jim Lucas and Mark Messmer for their leadership and work on behalf of gun owners and sportsmen across Indiana.