A 2007 order banning guns and weapons from the Indianapolis City-County Building that houses most of Marion County’s Circuit and Superior courts remains in force despite questions raised after the Indiana Legislature widely voided local gun regulations.
The Marion Superior Court Executive Committee on Friday reaffirmed its active order that prohibits carrying weapons in the building. The restrictions do not apply to law enforcement, judges, magistrates and judicial officers.
“All we wanted to do was to make absolutely certain judges and their courtrooms continued to be safe places,” said Marion Circuit Judge Louis Rosenberg, who prepared the reaffirmation.
“The intention is to make no change to current policy,” said Marion Superior Judge David Certo, who chairs the executive committee.
Lawmakers in 2011 passed a law forbidding local units of government from enacting gun restrictions beyond those adopted by the General Assembly. The law also voided all local ordinances or regulations that exceeded controls enacted by the state.
All visitors to the City-County Building must pass through metal detectors monitored by Marion County sheriff’s deputies. Rosenberg said deputies raised questions about the implications of a portion of PL 152-2011.
The law allows courthouses to continue to ban weapons. However, Indiana Code 35-47-11-1.4(5) makes an exception for common areas of courthouses or parts used by residential tenants or private businesses. The 28-story City-County Building has numerous areas that meet that description, Rosenberg said.
“Due to the configuration of courtrooms, penal facilities … and court offices throughout the building, (it) cannot be rendered safe except by the prohibition of weapons in the entire building, including common areas,” the reaffirmation reads.
“We wouldn’t be able to monitor security under the statute,” Rosenberg said after the proposal was adopted. Any effort to allow firearms in common areas but keep them out of courtrooms and penal areas “would be totally impractical,” he said.
Read past IL coverage of litigation arising from PL 152-2011.