IBJOpinion

FEIGENBAUM: Debate rages over the right to bear arms

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

As we approach the procedural halfway point of the legislative session over the next week, with some key pieces of legislation already approved in their respective chambers of origin, the kinds of measures we told you about recently—those with sound and fury behind them—are receiving consideration.

One such bill, the statewide ban on smoking in all public places except casinos, was shelved by its author, Rep. Charlie Brown, D-Gary, after it became evident it was going to be weighed down with assorted amendments that would either kill it or effectively neuter the ban (think back to the last pair of attempts to move a smoking prohibition through the Indianapolis City-County Council and you’ll see why Brown is holding back, at least for now).

HB 1065, authored by Rep. Bob Bischoff, D-Greendale, would bar business owners from prohibiting an employee from keeping a legally owned firearm in his or her locked vehicle at work.

Despite serious concerns expressed by the Indiana Manufacturers Association and the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, the bill passed the House Committee on Natural Resources on a 10-1 vote.

Why was the business-related bill heard in that panel? Because Bischoff chaired the panel, and sought some political credit in what will likely be a tough re-election race in a politically marginal and conservative district.

While several amendments were heard on the House floor, only two were adopted. The amendments added specific locations, such as child care facilities and penal facilities, to venues exempt from the legislation.

Business groups sought to convince legislators that the Second Amendment rights at stake here applied only to restrictions imposed by government units, and not by private employers. They emphasized the rights of employers to control acts on their private property over the rights of individuals to carry arms onto that property, but the bill passed 76-21.

Expect the bill to be heard in the Senate Committee on Corrections, Criminal and Civil Matters, where it is likely to face a receptive group of senators. A similar bill, SB 25, passed the Senate 41-9.

While there will be strong lobbying against this bill by business interests worried about workplace violence and liability, the National Rifle Association has sought to assuage such fears, and the bill should easily pass the Senate, given concerns about limiting Second Amendment rights.

Betting money is on the gun bill’s ultimately being signed by Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels.

Another business issue is of big interest to consumers of alcoholic beverages—even though they might not understand (or care about) the mechanics.

Even after a legislative interim study committee recommended no major changes in alcoholic-beverage laws after a two-year study, a war that would significantly alter the way alcohol is sold and distributed in Indiana is being waged. The combatants are, effectively, National Wine & Spirits, the state’s principal alcohol wholesaler, and Southern Wine & Spirits, a national powerhouse that has been shut out of Indiana business under state law, but has pursued judicial remedies to become licensed.

The battle has meant new work for a bevy of beverage lobbyists, energized a drinking public that is concerned about potential price hikes, and turned on its head some traditional assumptions about who supports or opposes a given monopoly business and under what philosophy. Also at issue: the appropriateness of the Legislature’s requiring a given business entity to reimburse a competitor over lost business (which you may have thought only happened in the casino, horse racing and racino world).

Any legislative action that results in a new law is likely to be challenged in court. The lack of legislative action may also mean acceleration of administrative action and litigation, so don’t assume either way that the alcohol-distribution issue ends with adjournment sine die.

Legislators are also taking the first steps toward addressing some major outstanding gambling-related issues that will have a major impact on thousands of jobs; hundreds of millions of dollars of private equity; tens of millions of annual state tax dollars; and the future of a few large companies, cities and counties.

More on that next week.•

__________

Feigenbaum publishes Indiana Legislative Insight. His column appears weekly while the Indiana General Assembly is in session. He can be reached at edf@ingrouponline.com.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. I am a Lyft driver who is a licensed CDL professional driver. ALL Lyft drivers take pride in providing quality service to the Indianapolis and surrounding areas, and we take the safety of our passengers and the public seriously.(passengers are required to put seat belts on when they get in our cars) We do go through background checks, driving records are checked as are the personal cars we drive, (these are OUR private cars we use) Unlike taxi cabs and their drivers Lyft (and yes Uber) provide passengers with a clean car inside and out, a friendly and courteous driver, and who is dressed appropriately and is groomed appropriately. I go so far as to offer mints, candy and/or small bottle of water to the my customers. It's a mutual respect between driver and passenger. With Best Regards

  2. to be the big fish in the little pond of IRL midwest racin' when yer up against Racin' Gardner

  3. In the first sentance "As a resident of one of these new Carmel Apartments the issue the local governments need to discuss are build quality & price." need a way to edit

  4. As a resident of one of these new Carmel Apartments the issue the local governments need to discuss is build quality & price. First none of these places is worth $1100 for a one bedroom. Downtown Carmel or Keystone at the Crossing in Indy. It doesn't matter. All require you to get in your car to get just about anywhere you need to go. I'm in one of the Carmel apartments now where after just 2.5 short years one of the kitchen cabinet doors is crooked and lawn and property maintenance seems to be lacking my old Indianapolis apartment which cost $300 less. This is one of the new star apartments. As they keep building throughout the area "deals" will start popping up creating shoppers. If your property is falling apart after year 3 what will it look like after year 5 or 10??? Why would one stay here if they could move to a new Broad Ripple in 2 to 3 years or another part of the Far Northside?? The complexes aren't going to let the "poor" move in without local permission so that's not that problem, but it the occupancy rate drops suddenly because the "Young" people moved back to Indy then look out.

  5. Why are you so concerned about Ace hardware? I don't understand why anyone goes there! Every time ive gone in the past, they don't have what I need and I end up going to the big box stores. I understand the service aspect and that they try to be helpful but if they are going to survive I think they might need to carry more specialty parts.

ADVERTISEMENT