Hogsett’s new plan to curb gun violence calls for change in state law

  • Comments
  • Print
Listen to this story

Subscriber Benefit

As a subscriber you can listen to articles at work, in the car, or while you work out. Subscribe Now
This audio file is brought to you by
Loading audio file, please wait.
  • 0.25
  • 0.50
  • 0.75
  • 1.00
  • 1.25
  • 1.50
  • 1.75
  • 2.00

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett announced Thursday an update to the city’s public-safety plan that’s intended to reduce gun violence in neighborhoods and public places, but part of the plan hinges on a major change in state law.

“There is absolutely more we can and that we should be doing to move this city forward,” Hogsett said. “And that’s why we’re here today.”

Hogsett said the city will:

– Introduce a proposed ordinance through the City-County Council to ban the sale of military-style guns, raise the minimum age to purchase guns from 18 to 21, and end permitless carry and concealed carry of handguns in Marion County. The ordinance would only be enforceable, however, under a change in state law.

– Hire three city attorneys who will work full-time with the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana on gun crimes.

– Work toward creating designated gun-free zones when requested by private event holders on public property.

– And create a targeted strategy aimed at “problem properties” that are magnets for violent crime.

Gun control ordinance

While state law preempts Indianapolis from establishing gun restrictions, the city said it is crafting a proposal to send a message to the Statehouse and lobby for a change.

“This preemption policy was pushed by the gun lobby and became a litmus test for those seeking elected office,” Hogsett said. “Well, it’s a bad policy.”

At the June 5 full meeting of the City-County Council, the governing body will introduce a proposal that’s conditional on a change in state law.

The proposed ordinance would ban the sale of military-style guns and raise the minimum age to purchase guns from 18 to 21. It would also aim to end permitless carry and concealed carry of handguns in Marion County. The proposed gun restrictions would all conflict with state law.

Because the city cannot create criminal charges under state law, the ordinance would be enforced through monetary fines, if passed.

The ordinance would only go into effect if the state walks back its 2011 preemption statute. The city’s stance tees the Democrat-controlled municipality up for a fight against the Republican supermajority in the Statehouse, which just passed a law loosening gun laws last year.

Lobbying for a change in the state’s preemption law to allow Marion County to regulate guns is the top priority of the Mayor’s Office for the 2024 session, Hogsett said.

Federal charges for gun crimes

Two Indianapolis police officers were wounded in an April 20 shootout by a man with an AR-15-style rifle. Following the incident, Hogsett told reporters he had been in contact with Zach Myers, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, to push for federal charges in cases of illegal gun ownership and selling.

As a result of his conversation with Myers, Hogsett the city plans to hire three criminal attorneys who would be deputized by Myers to work on gun crimes that are eligible to receive federal charges. Though they would work with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, they would report to the city’s corporation counsel, Matt Giffin.

Federally-charged individuals would have no right to bail, could be held anywhere and would have to spend the majority of their sentence in prison rather than having the option of supervised release or community corrections.

“As a former federal prosecutor, I’m particularly heartened that these federal charges will usually result in these bad actors off our streets,” Hogsett said.

The new partnership is similar to an initiative the Baltimore Police Department announced in 2019 with the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The proposal has the support of Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears, who has been criticized for what Republican opponents have called a “revolving door” of individuals committing crimes after being convicted.

Nuisance properties

Under the new plan, the city will aim to hold accountable bars, apartment buildings and other businesses that attract and harbor criminal behavior.

The city prosecutor’s office and the Department of Business and Neighborhood Services have been instructed to enact policies to penalize those who are maintaining these so-called nuisance properties.

“Know that we will no longer tolerate you forcing taxpayers to pick up the tab for your irresponsible business practices,” Hogsett said.

The city will also continue to pursue a test case that could allow the city to classify properties with a large number of police runs as nuisance properties as defined by state law.

Private gun-free zones

Private businesses are able to regulate guns in their spaces, but many business owners are still concerned about public spaces that are less easily regulated, Hogsett said.

To help remedy some of those concerns, large-scale event hosts and neighborhood associations can request city assistance in creating gun-free zones for their events, Hogsett said.

Privately designated “gun-free zones” will be given resources from the city. When private event hosts in public spaces request that these spaces be made gun-free, the city and IMPD may provide security and equipment to those private hosts.

Mayoral candidate Jefferson Shreve, a Republican who is running against Hogsett, a Democrat, called the mayor’s new plan “toothless.”

“Over the past eight years, Indianapolis has reached record-breaking levels of violence and homicides,” Shreve said in an email to IBJ. “Our city is not getting safer as Mayor Hogsett says. The number of murders in 2022 is nearly double what it was when he took office, and this year is on track to be our deadliest yet.

“The ‘plan’ he released today is another one of his toothless initiatives. An election year stunt and a slap in the faces of veteran police officers. After nearly eight years, the results are in, and Mayor Hogsett has failed. It’s time for new leadership that will work in a bipartisan manner to solve our city’s public safety crisis.”

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

Editor's note: You can comment on IBJ stories by signing in to your IBJ account. If you have not registered, please sign up for a free account now. Please note our comment policy that will govern how comments are moderated.

39 thoughts on “Hogsett’s new plan to curb gun violence calls for change in state law

  1. Hogsett needs to follow state law, a law-abiding gun owner should not have to worry about breaking the law every time they go to a different city in Indiana. And would someone please define what a military-style gun is Hogsett is just spewing stupidity trying to get more votes from people that cannot think logically. The only intelligent part of Hogsett’s proposals is the focus on actual prosecution. Hold people accountable and actually give them jail time for gun crimes and you will reduce the crimes.

    1. Did you read the article? The law does NOT go into effect, until the state changes its laws!

      And Ah yes, the deflection about “military style sporting weapons”.

    2. Yes Dan I read the article and my response was: 1) no new useless laws, 2) enforce and prosecute against current laws effectively. Again I reinforce what I said while being more specific; partnering with the feds in order to give bigger federal charges for gun crimes is a great idea. New laws are not.

    3. In the below links (sorry they will not allow links, these are facts) you will find alarming information of the abortion deaths in the United States as compared to gun deaths, and more importantly gun deaths by murder. Here are the facts:

      Deaths by Abortions in the USA in 2020 – 930,160
      Deaths by Murder in the USA in 2020 – 19,384
      Deaths by Murder in the USA in 2021 – 20,958

      There were over 47 times more deaths by abortion than murder in 2020! Total gun deaths, which include suicide and accidental shootings, were 45,222 in 2020 and 48,830 in 2021. Just to be clear, all shooting deaths are terrible whether suicide or murder. When a murder occurs the victim did not choose to die. When an abortion occurs the victim also did not choose to die. When you see these numbers it is alarming that all we hear about in the news is about gun violence. I am for tighter gun laws. I would vote to outlaw AR15s and other similar weapons. I would vote to raise the age for gun purchases from 18 to 21. I would vote to reinstate gun carry permits. I would like violent offenders off the street, and we should remove guns from the hands of those with mental illness. But, how can we accept 930,160 deaths to the unborn who do not choose to die? I don’t care how many people protest for this right. They are marching for the right to murder the unborn. That is not a women’s right, just as murder by guns is not a person’s right. We need to stop killing our fellow human beings. We need to stop others from killing each other. Please stop ignoring the facts. The legislature was hired by us to represent us. They pass laws proposed and suggested by us, the voters. Please stop being the “quiet majority”. Speak up. Right now the only people speaking up are those that want to “protect their gun rights” and want a “woman’s right to choose” (to have an abortion). Our voted officials are not going to call you to seek your opinion on these issues. Please speak up. Be heard. Be the voice that makes a difference.

  2. Less gun violence requires massive crackdowns and jailing of key members of the Democratic base, which is quite a conundrum for a Dem-controlled mayoralty and City Council.

    1. Just guessing but, are all those ” key members of the Democratic base” non-white? Thought so. Your code speak is amateurish and transparent.

    2. Pat B the truth hurts but it is the truth. so we just turn our heads and do nothing lest we be called racists?

    3. Pat B.
      Enough with the shreiking “ racists “.
      We need honest conversations. Facts are facts and facts are NOT racist.

      City prosecutor Ryan Mears when he took office said his whole approach
      would be more of a social justice and racial equity.
      Now!! What do you think that means??

  3. Gun free zones are where mass shooting take place
    Prosecute all violate crimes, jail time!
    The dem feds are worse than the weak knee Prosecutor

  4. Yeah, guns have no real place in places with high population densities. High population density states have essentially eliminated homicides with anti-gun laws. NYC and San Francisco have extremely low gun violence rates. Lower than many places in rural Indiana.

    The exceptions, however, are places with laws that prohibit guns but are surrounded by places that allow guns. Chicago is flanked by Indiana, so it’s easy for people to get guns in. Their gun laws are not effective because of it.

    1. A popular misconception is that Chicago has tough gun laws. All of those laws have been struck down in the courts, maybe more than 10 years ago.

      But, yes, until there is a controlled border between Indiana and Illinois, Illinois will have to live with the unbridled gun trade flowing in from Indiana.

    2. Morning Dan, I am going to apologize early for being impatient this morning If my language below sounds crass, please understand that my goal is to educate all readers, you included but stating platitudes based on ignorance helps no one. So let me give you some easily found data from the ATF surrounding Illinois gun crime and Indiana gun laws. I can not post links here so please dear reader take some time to do some research and research actual facts. ATF stats: 60% of all guns used criminally are sourced from within Illinois and a very large number of these are sourced criminally and not from a licensed gun dealer. In fact, only 11% of all guns used criminally in Illinois were legally purchased. Now for Indiana, less than 17% of all guns used criminally in Illinois were originally sourced from Indiana. However, the problem with this number is that it does not tell us what percentage of these guns had been reported stolen from the original purchaser. ATF data does not provide this level of specificity, but realistically we could intelligently assume that at least a couple of percentage points were stolen from their rightful owners, but let’s keep to numbers we know for sure. The gun crime in Illinois argument because of Indiana law is childish and misinformed. Simply put locality does not mean causality.

    3. A.H.

      I do t know the exact stats, but I bet a high percentage of the guns used
      criminally were stolen.

  5. Prohibit guns? It affects only law-abiding citizens. Law breakers (many, too many, in Indy) don’t care. Let’s be realistic. “Doug” said it. “Prosecute all violate crime”.

    1. I think they were just trying to put in place some common sense restrictions. The gun free zones are for private events and last time I looked, I pretty sure the host has control over who he invites.

      I’m pretty sure arming everyone is isn’t working, or at least you’d have to be an idiot to not see that there is correlation between the availability of guns and increasing gun violence. As a matter of fact states that have already implemented permit-less carry, see a steady rise in gun violence over about a 10 year period and it plateaus at a level about 10% higher than before the permit-carry laws were in place. This happens as more citizens arm themselves and carry at all times.

    2. Morning again Dan, First off thank you for your openness to state your perspectives. Willing people help us all to be more informed. First off, can we please stop using the term “common sense”? The old saying comes to mind, “common sense is not so common”. If you say we need common sense gun laws and I disagree then your implication is that I have no common sense, the quickest way to stop a constructive argument is to attack the other person personally and the use of the term “common sense” is obviously making you look unreasonable and combative. It would be much better to say that putting in place well-researched and educated gun laws makes sense. Now regarding the research you mentioned concerning the 10% increase in gun violence has some very big holes too many to mention here but the biggest issue is the use of “gun violence” vs “gun crime”. Federal gun violence numbers include all uses of force that involve a gun including things like women shooting a potential rapist. So yes there is an increase in gun violence but no research (that I have found) on what percentage of that increase is not considered criminal. Due to things like self-defense. There are obviously fools that should be carrying a firearm but we need to look at realistic numbers and have an open conversation not assume a law we don’t like is bad due to personal views.

  6. I’m sure all the bad people will finally accept and play by the rules once they know they are entering a “gun free zone”. Because they are known for following the rules when it comes to gun safety and respect for laws.

    Shreve is right, it’s an election year stunt.

    On an unrelated subject, Joe Hogsett is an incompetent leader who has accomplished very little until it’s time to run again. Only like now does he get the ball rolling on things like road construction. All at once. All over the city. You can’t navigate the city today without being embarrassed by the STILL OPEN potholes from the winter. It’s the end of May and your road crews have not done their jobs. Meridian St(86-96th, 34-30th), 30th st(cold springs rd) is an absolute embarrassment with race weekend upon us. Medians on 38th St from the Monon west to Newfields look completely unkept and damaged from accidents, medians and sidewalks south of Crown Hill on MLK haven’t been mowed and maintained at all this year.

    What shame and embarrassment you have brought on our once glorious city, on our biggest showcase weekend of the year. Mr. Mayor, you and your entire administration should be embarrassed enough to not show your faces this weekend at the Speedway. When you stand on the track this coming Sunday, and your presence is announced over the PA system, I hope you understand why the crowd of 350,000+ are booing you.

    1. Did you ever report that open pothole? As a citizen you have some responsibilities too.

      As for the state of 38th Street, that’s a legacy of good intentions from the city and poor planning and bad road design thrust upon the city by the state. That stretch of 38th that looks like it’s wide enough to be a state highway, was at one point a state highway. As parking disappeared, so did the businesses. Nobody wants to live next to a highway so housing prices dropped. As speed increased, minor accidents take out huge chunks of infrastructure next to the roadways. The real solution is shrink the road by about 50%, cut the speed limit to 25mph and install stop lights at every intersection. But I think you’d complain about that too.

    2. I agree it is citizens responsibility to help out and be proactive. I’ve called the mayors action hotline many times over the years to report potholes. I’m an active participant in my city. I care about my city and her image. Now unfortunately I can’t drive every road and report all potholes. 38th st is fine in it’s current width to shrink and slow it down would be absolutely ludicrous. In a densely populated area with a lot of added commuter traffic, the last thing that should happen is to narrow 38th St. If you think shrinking it is going to make commuting better, you’re nuts. All that will accomplish is to make for more congestion, longer drive times, and make drivers angrier, drive faster, and try to lane jump to get through traffic. Thus causing more accidents. As for the median being a “legacy of good intentions”, show me where the state government came in, took control of 38th St, and made the city do that median project. But however/whoever got it built, it is now it’s the responsibility of the current and future administrations to either maintain it and beautify it, or rip it out and top it with a concrete cap. Can’t just let it keep looking the way it does. Oh, and btw, there already are 14 stop lights on 38th from Fall Creek to Cold Springs rd. You still want to add some more lights? Not every thought you have needs to be spoken. And I’m sure the speed limit might be 35mph at the most. I think if you can’t manage to drive safely at 35, you need not drive at all.

  7. How is it. That Republicans can be adamantly pro gun and still claim to be pro-life . A. Gun is a tool specifically designed to abort life from before conception til the last breath.

    1. Lazy and dumb Charles. What else will we have to ban under this line of thought? Automobiles, Motorcycles, Cigarettes, All Tobacco, Vaping, Red Meat, Sugary Drinks, Most Chemicals…..

    2. Last time I looked, my automobile had a productive function namely as transportation. And funny you should mention it, as people realized how dangerous automobiles were, public health officials implemented common sense regulations. Regulations require airbags. Regulations require seatbelts. Regulation requires training, testing, and licensing of operators. Regulation requires registration of the dangerous object.

      Imagine if people realized that guns were dangerous, we might require things like trigger interlocks, licensing, training, and registration.

      I could go along with the ban of nicotine and a few more chemicals.

    3. Morning Dan, Again please stop using “common sense” it is derogatory people can disagree with you and still have common sense. I have a gun law that to me seems to solve many problems…This is related to the concept of requiring some defined training in order to exercise your right to carry a firearm. First off I totally disagree with this type of law but also recognize the risk of an untrained moron making bad decisions that put people in danger. You like likely sit on the other side of this type of law. Perfect in order to get to agreement we must first have mutual understanding. What I would like to see is an addition to criminal law that enhances gun crimes based on training. Specifically, I would like to see a law where if a person has voluntarily taken the extra firearm training and they make a stupid mistake involving a gun crime they still get charged criminally. However, if someone makes a mistake and commits a gun crime then without having voluntarily taken the course then you enhance their criminal charges at least and make it a worse crime. For example instead of 10 yrs jail they get 20yrs. If the research shows that training reduces gun violence and there is a voluntary incentive to pay for training then this seems like a win-win. If people are dumb enough to carry without training then they deserve a bigger charge. I would really be very interested in your thoughts.

    4. One of the more recent Supreme Court cases has Kavanaugh and Roberts writing that states can still require people to get a license to carry a gun and condition that license on fingerprinting, a background check, a mental health records check, and training in firearms handling and in laws regarding the use of force, among other possible requirements.

      I still don’t understand why an untrained civilian is subject to less required training than a member of the military … when it comes to carrying and possessing a very similar weapon. Guess I don’t have “common sense”.

    1. Yeah, because there are too many trigger happy idiots with the same thought so instead flipping bird, they’re flipping the safety off.

    2. J.W.

      I kind of agree with Dan on this one. I once had a friend tell me that he enjoyed going downtown for shows, at night but did not feel safe. Said he was going to start carrying a gun. I told him he was being dumb you don’t get brave going someplace scary because you are carrying a gun. If the place is scary you avoid it with or without a gun. The problem is that if you are scared you will eventually find the “right time” to pull out that gun. The best outcome he would have is that he gets jail time without the guilt of killing someone on his conscience. Sometimes people should not carry because their reason for carrying is wrong.

  8. These criminal actors could care less about laws. We need the city to fight back and take back. Support and properly fund law law enforcement or the laws are pointless.

    1. Yeah it’s pointless when every impulsive person has a deadly weapon, and there are no laws to even allow police to get criminals off the street with permit-less carry allowed.

    2. Dan, please research the laws maybe go to your local police and ask questions. In fact, many departments have what they call Citizens Academies I went to one of these classes years ago, and it really helped me understand why police do things in a certain way. BTW, I did not agree with everything they did or why and called my state congressperson accordingly. As for getting someone off the streets. 1) if the implication is that they are criminals because they carry I do not agree. 2) if the implication is that they do a crime while having a gun they he’s the laws are not only there but having a gun in Indiana while committing a crime will usually get you extra charges.

      I guess in this case your definition of criminal is important.

  9. Taylor,

    How can you not mention Eric Doden running for Governor? This move by Hogsett is clearly a reaction to the Doden plan to have the State take over some downtown responsibilities. The Hogsett announcement has nothing to do with guns. Guns were just a prop to fire back.

    One of my biggest complaints about the current Mayor is that his lobbying of the legislature has been pathetic. Indianapolis always needs to work with the legislature and Governor and his view is that he can’t win so why even try. This has hurt our city. We need a Mayor that will engage with the state.

    1. Bahaha – you think Hogsett, or any republican running for governor is concerned about Doden?

    1. He got relected because the individual running against him from the R side, she had no policies she was touting. Her policy is I’m not Ryan Mears. Okay – Good Luck with that. He won (regardless on if you like the policy or not) because he had concrete policies that he was running on 3-4 actions that he was going to do while he was in office. The R candidate just said I’ll undo what he has done and I’m not him. That will not get you elected.

  10. Hogsett will unfortunately get nowhere with his request that the state allow local ordinances that are stricter than state law. The whole point of all the new “conservative” pre-emption laws is that local Democrats will never be allowed to have locally focused government that tries to deal with local problems the way the locals want them dealt with. Republicans are all for local control if they are the ones who are running things locally. But in larger cities, which tend to elect Democrats, the state Republicans increasingly are trying to hamstring local rule — so that they can then blame local leaders for any problems. I live in Indianapolis and absolutely want stronger local gun laws, and I am guessing the majority of Indianapolis residents would agree with me. But rural Republicans are telling me that we cannot have that. Like just about everything emanating from the Republican Party these days, it’s not about good government, it’s about obtaining and maintaining GOP power, no matter what.

Get the best of Indiana business news. ONLY $1/week Subscribe Now

Get the best of Indiana business news. ONLY $1/week Subscribe Now

Get the best of Indiana business news. ONLY $1/week Subscribe Now

Get the best of Indiana business news. ONLY $1/week Subscribe Now

Get the best of Indiana business news.

Limited-time introductory offer for new subscribers

ONLY $1/week

Cancel anytime

Subscribe Now

Already a paid subscriber? Log In

Get the best of Indiana business news.

Limited-time introductory offer for new subscribers

ONLY $1/week

Cancel anytime

Subscribe Now

Already a paid subscriber? Log In

Get the best of Indiana business news.

Limited-time introductory offer for new subscribers

ONLY $1/week

Cancel anytime

Subscribe Now

Already a paid subscriber? Log In

Get the best of Indiana business news.

Limited-time introductory offer for new subscribers

ONLY $1/week

Cancel anytime

Subscribe Now

Already a paid subscriber? Log In