Even though I don’t live in Marion County/Indianapolis any longer, I still get extremely concerned whenever the sitting Mayor of Indianapolis starts talking about any kind of gun control. You see, whenever Marion County does something “progressive”, all the other counties and cities around Indianapolis get the idea that imitating it would be a great idea. For example, Indianapolis has a smoking ban in certain bars and restaurants. Coming soon to Hamilton County – a smoking ban!So needless to say, when I see statements like this from Greg Ballard, Mayor of Indianapolis (and ostensibly a conservative Republican) I tend to get a little…nervous.
The mayor of Indianapolis is considering a bold and probably controversial step to curb violent crime in the city. Then in November, Ballard got inspiration from, of all places, a football star that shot himself in the leg. Giant Plaxico Burress is fighting 3 years in prison, not for the shooting, but for the weapon. Even if Burress had never fired, New York has mandatory jail time for carrying a gun that’s not registered with the city. Ballard thinks what works there might also work in Indy. “I wonder about our gun laws. Should we be harsher with our gun laws,” said Ballard. “I’d like to look at gun laws, frankly. Penalties for illegal guns,” said Ballard. Ballard said he knows many will oppose the idea, and he wants to make clear what kind of guns he’d target. “I have no problem with second amendment legal guns. No problem what so ever on that. It’s the illegal guns that are concerning,” said Ballard. New York’s mayor pushed the issue through at the city level. But, Ballard said he’d have to work with state government and acknowledges Indiana lawmakers may not have the time in 2009.
A couple of thoughts here. First off, he’s using that weasel word “illegal gun”, which is a great catch-all category for “guns we don’t like”. Secondly, he is right about one thing – getting some kind of gun control passed for Indianapolis would have to happen at the state level. Thankfully, Indiana has a preemption law, which means that no city, county, or locality can pass a law which goes counter to state laws. Of course, that hasn’t stopped various state representatives from trying to get that law overturned, but so far they’ve been unsuccessful.I’m also kind of regretting that I supported Mayor Ballard’s campaign now – I figured he was definitely an upgrade over Bart Peterson, who desperately wanted to turn Indianapolis into “Chicago-lite”. Now, I might have to reconsider that.What this means for Hoosier gun owners is that we’ll need to be extremely vigilant at the tail end of this legislative session and even more so for the duration of the 2009 session at the State House. Mayor Ballard is correct in that any gun control initiative is going to have to come from the State level in one way or the other. It’s extremely important that we stay on guard for these measures, and if they do come up that we burn up the phone lines to our elected representatives. Indiana is one of the most 2nd Amendment friendly states in the country, and personally I’d like to keep it that way.