IBJOpinion

EDITORIAL: New gun, booze laws make no sense

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IBJ Editorial

Happy New Year!

It’s that time of year when cocktails flow, parties proliferate and celebratory fireworks wake the kids.

OK, so it’s just the fiscal new year and the recent festivities probably have more to do with the Fourth of July than with the shiny promise of the next 12 months, but state lawmakers nevertheless have been kind enough to provide some resolutions—in the form of laws that took effect July 1.

Thing is, we can’t blow these resolutions off after a couple of weeks (or days), no matter how much we want to. And there are a couple we really want to blow off.

That’s probably not a good choice of words when referring to the most egregious new law, a measure we have opposed since it was just a bad bill floating around the General Assembly: Businesses no longer can prohibit their employees from bringing firearms to work. Sure, gun owners must leave their weapons locked in their vehicles, but that’s still a bad idea.

Employers should be ableto set their own rules for what happens on company property—and establish whatever policies they think are necessary to ensure worker safety, including banning firearms.

Emotions can run high during a tough day at the office—especially in a tough economy as workers are asked to do more with less—and having guns as close as a quick walk to the parking lot is just asking for trouble.

Officials at steelmaker ArcelorMittal USA, in fact, already have told workers at its mills in northwestern Indiana to leave their guns at home despite the state’s OK. And as IBJ.com reported July 1, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce is talking to at least a dozen companies about mounting a legal challenge to the law. We wish them luck.

And our second entry from the “What Were They Thinking?” department: Alcoholic beverage retailers now are required to check a photo ID for anyone purchasing alcohol. Yep, anyone.

So if Granny wants to buy that bottle of wine for Sunday dinner, she’s going to have to dig out the driver’s license that probably hasn’t seen the light of day since her last trip to the BMV. Seriously, folks?

The law is intended to cut down on the sale of alcohol to minors, but we just don’t see how sweeping obviously of-age folks into the dragnet is going to help. Let’s get real: Clerks should be checking IDs of anyone who looks anywhere close to 21, and those of us who are lucky enough to be asked to prove our age decades after our first legal drink can take that as a compliment. But now it’s just going to be a pain.

Another new law is right on the money: Microbreweries now are allowed to sell their products for carryout on Sundays, something farm wineries have been able to do for years. We’ll raise a glass to that decision—if we can find our IDs.•

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To comment on this editorial, write to edit@ibj.com.

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