Indianapolis City Council Votes In Favor Of Banning “Assault” Rifles, Mandating A License To Carry

 July 12, 2023

Introducing the gun control measure, known as Proposal 156, Mayor Joe Hogsett, promoted the measure as part of his public safety plan. As such, on Monday evening, the Indianapolis City-County Council, passed the measure by a party-line vote of 18 to five.

Proposal 156 was initially approved, nine to four, by the city's Public Safety and Criminal Justice Committee. The ordinance increases the age required to purchase a gun in the city to 21 years old, bans "assault rifles" within city limits and mandates a license to carry.

The public safety plan, was announced by Hogsett, back in May, as part of a sweeping response to gun crime, consisting of two proposals. The first is a slate of wishful thinking, stricter gun control measures that cannot take effect in Indianapolis, unless Indiana’s gun laws change. The second authorizes the city to hire three new federal prosecutors, in an effort to demonstrate a tougher approach to punishing serious violent crime.

The mayor, who is running for reelection, has also faced criticism from his Republican opponent Jefferson Shreve for the city's high homicide rates. A campaign spokesperson for Shreve reportedly said-

 “It’s remarkable how much Joe Hogsett has to say now that it’s an election year,"

-Jennifer Erbacher, Spokesperson for Republican Mayoral Opponent Jefferson Shreve

At the same meeting, the council also approved a proposal for the city to add three federal prosecutors, who will focus on prosecuting federal gun crimes. This fulfills part two, of the mayor's public safety plan as it relates to gun crimes.

The vote taken on Monday evening drew cheers from local residents. As if to take a victory lap, for a measure not enforceable, Hogsett said in a statement-

"Tonight's Council votes on Proposals 149 and 156 prove that Indianapolis and its leadership won't back down from taking bold steps to protect residents and neighborhoods,"… "I applaud the Council's bipartisan support for funding our partnership with U.S. Attorney Zach Myers, holding the worst of the worst offenders to account." Adding…

"I also wish to thank those who approved our common-sense gun safety measures, including a ban on semiautomatic assault weapons, increasing the purchasing age to 21, requiring handgun licenses, and removing the concealed carry of firearms,"

-Mayor Joe Hogsett, Indianapolis, Indiana

Again however, the measure, is not immediately enforceable. This is because Indiana state law prohibits local governments from enforcing this kind of gun regulation. In fact, the 2011 Indiana law prevents cities from regulating guns, period.

According to a report by WTHR, the city would be allowed to enact the measure, if state regulations are lifted or the law is changed by the legislature or the courts. For now it’s mainly intent, but as Hogsett wrote in a statement after the vote-

"Tonight we are sending a clear message of where we stand about the causes of gun violence and the proliferation of illegal weapons on our streets,"

Applauded by supporters, Hogsett’s plan was praised by many gun violence prevention advocates. On the other hand, the Republican minority members on the council strongly opposed the gun control measures as unconstitutional. According to WTHR, Republican Council minority leader Brian Mowery said-

"I'm voting against this because I disagree with the toothless language and the policy itself, but also because it plainly violates state statute and state constitution,"

- Brian Mowery, Republican Council Minority Leader

If they cannot apply or enforce this measure, it would seem that, not only does this dog only bark but it will never see application, because it is utterly toothless. Not only do criminals know, that it has no teeth, but those in law enforcement cannot adequately do their own job, because they have no real recourse - despite the hopes and wishes of the city council.

This is just another Democratic smoke-screen for Hogsett as he seeks re-election. His grandstanding, with a feel-good vote, will not save even one life, in a situation like this. Laws need enacted to prosecute gun violence perpetrators, because stiff consequences are a better deterrent.

“Stop blaming guns for this tragedy when people are the ones pulling the trigger. Guns don't kill people, people kill people.”

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