Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Guns in Indianapolis City Parks; Councilor Stands Up for Second Amendment Rights
Yesterday at the Indianapolis City-County Council, At-Large Libertarian Councilor Edward Coleman introduced a measure that would protect the gun permit owners' right to possess their guns at municipal parks in Indianapolis.
Indiana law already allows guns at state parks, assuming, of course, the person has a permit to possess the gun. Congress has adopted a similar law for national parks.
Indianapolis though remains an exception. "Firearms" are prohibited in city parks. Frankly, I'm not sure a city could legally carve out an exception to gun rights protected not only by the Second Amendment but more importantly by the Indiana Constitution and Indiana statutes.
Councilor Coleman though should be applauded for his efforts. Republican Mayor Greg Ballard who has displayed lip service to supporting Second Amendment rights while at the same time arguing in court documents the City of Indianapolis does not have to comply with the Second Amendment, a position directly opposed to Republican Attorney General Greg Zoeller. Mayor Ballard has also supported one of the most restrictive gun return policies in the Midwest. If the police come into your house and wrongly take a gun you legally possess (let's say the search warrant has the wrong address), the position of Mayor Ballard and the police department is that they do not have to return that gun unless you submit to fingerprinting and the gun goes through ballistics testing.
Let's not forget that Mayor Ballard praised New York City's gun registration system and suggested it may be adopted here. Then he went out and appointed a public safety director who is also hostile to gun rights.
Still Mayor Ballard says he supports Second Amendment rights. More hollow words have never been spoken.
Coleman's proposal may turn out to be a smart political maneuver. Even if it doesn't pass, he has put the Mayor on the spot forcing him to back up his empty words of support for gun rights with genuine support of a measure that protects those rights. Coleman should go further and address IMPD's gun return policy which is a slap in the face of legal gun owners who have their guns wrongfully seized.
As someone who uses a city park regularly, this is a matter important to me. From about April to October, I write my bike from my northwest side home to downtown Indianapolis. In doing so I ride on the White River Trail for about a 4 1/2 mile stretch. It's a beautiful ride ride through nature. However, the trail is closely shielded at points by trees, bushes and other growth. It would be extraordinarily easy for thugs to hide in the bushes and then jump out as I approach on my bicycle.
Whether I would carry a gun or not, I'm not certain. Nor am I certain I would be in a position to use it. But the problem with the current law is that those thugs in the bushes know, by virtue of the city's law against guns in park, that anyone traversing that linear park will be doing so unarmed. While I haven't heard of someone being assaulted on the White River Trail, it has happened several times on the more used Monon Trial.
Councilor Coleman doesn't just talk the talk on gun rights, he walks the walk. I wish I could say the same for Republican Mayor Ballard. My guess is that once again, Mayor Ballard will show his hostility to gun rights and will oppose Coleman's proposal.