By a single vote on Monday, the Indianapolis City-County Council approved a measure to mandate any guns lost or stolen be reported to police under threat of a fine.
The measure, introduced in July by Counselor Kip Tew, would require gun owners to contact the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department within 48 hours of discovering a firearm missing. It passed by a 15-14 vote along party lines in the face of a promised veto by Republican Mayor Greg Ballard.
Despite the partisan support for the issue, the proposal’s sponsor contends its not about gun control.
“This is going to be a tool helpful to law enforcement that had difficulty tracking these weapons when people commit crimes. And this is a way to check back to see where these guns originated from,” Tew said.
The proposed ordinance originally called for reports to be made to the County Health Department, but later amended the language to make reports instead to the police. Those who fail to make such reports would be liable for a token $50 fine plus court costs per gun.
The Mayor’s office, city attorneys and council GOP members argue the proposed law is a step too far and violates Indiana’s strong gun preemption laws adopted in 2011, opening the city for a possible action from either the state attorney general or from Second Amendment advocates.
“As things stand now, he has some significant concerns about the legality and the timing of the proposal,” said Jen Pittman, with Ballard’s…