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Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. 2021 ‘Preemption of Local Laws in Indiana.’ Other Laws & Policies. San Francisco, CA: Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. 13 June

Relevant contents

Local Authority to Regulate Firearms in Indiana

Counties, municipalities and townships are defined as local government "units" by Indiana law. Pursuant to section 36-1-3-2, "[t]he policy of the state is to grant units all the powers that they need for the effective operation of government as to local affairs."

In 2011, Indiana amended its broad firearms preemption statute making it even more restrictive than the previous version. The new law states that a political subdivision may not regulate firearms, ammunition, or firearm accessories or the "ownership, possession, carrying, transportation, registration, transfer, and storage" or "commerce in and taxation of" these items. Firearm accessory is defined as a device that enables the wearing or carrying of a firearm on the person; or the storage or mounting of a firearm on a conveyance; or a device that is intended to be inserted or affixed onto a firearm to improve its function.

While the former law allowed local laws that were in effect prior to January 1, 1994 to stand; the current law declares all previous laws addressing the items and activities above to be void. There are limited exceptions. For example, an employer may restrict an employee from carrying firearms and ammunition in the course of his or her official duties. Local governments may enact zoning or business ordinances that apply to firearms businesses so long as the ordinance also applies in the same way to similar businesses. However, a local government may not, with one limited exception, prohibit the sale of firearms within a specified distance from a school or other land use.

Unlike the former law, the new law does not permit local governments from restricting concealed weapon permit holders from carrying firearms in local government-owned buildings (except those that house courtrooms). Governments may only restrict non-permit holders from carrying in these buildings if metal detection devices and law enforcement officers are at every public entrance to inspect people and bags.

Section 35-47-11.1 also provides that a person or organization who is adversely affected by local government action that impacts firearms in violation of the section may sue for damages (including liquidated damages in an amount three times the attorney's fees), court costs and attorney's fees…

[Editor's note: The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence regularly updates its webpages with new data as US gun regulation evolves state by state. For the most up-to-date information on US gun laws, please refer to the Giffords URL below]

ID: Q7710

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