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City seeks to comply with firearms law

November 16, 2011

    The City of Decatur is attempting to come into compliance with Indiana's new law on gun toting. It isn't easy.
    City Attorney Tim Baker unveiled at Tuesday night's city council meeting an amendment to the city's firearms ordinance. There is, however, considerable question whether or not it will be legally in compliance.
    The state law, which took effect July 1, prohibits local ordinances that ban firearms from most locations, such as libraries and parks. It exempts schools, public hospitals, buildings that house courts and those that have metal detectors and security officers at every entrance.
    "Basically, (the new law) changes what we're able to do locally," Mayor John Schultz said.
    Decatur's ordinance prohibits the carrying of firearms in city parks and places restrictions on firearms citywide. The rewrite of the ordinance proposed by Baker would, to comply with the new law, allow the carrying of firearms within the parks and city. But it would prohibit the firing of the weapons unless for protection or at certain exhibitions/festivals, such as the Kekionga Festival.
    "And, obviously, we're not going to tie the hands of our police officers," Baker said. "We're trying to modify the language to make it fit the law."
    Baker recommended passing the amended ordinance on two readings and tabling the measure until the December 6 meeting. During that time, he hopes to determine, with the aid of the Association of Cities and Towns, if the change would fit under the new law.

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