City council discusses gun laws

IL Staff
October 12, 2011
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Indiana Lawyer Rehearing

On Oct. 24, the Hammond City Council will discuss ordinances introduced by Councilwoman Kim Poland that would repeal local gun laws in order to align with the new state laws.

“I’ve got my fingers crossed that they’ll make the right choice this time,” Poland told Indiana Lawyer. “I would’ve thought that the first time around, this would’ve been a slam-dunk.”

At the Aug. 22 Hammond City Council meeting, Poland introduced a motion to repeal Hammond ordinance Chapter 132, Section 132.073, which bars guns in civil city public buildings. She said city attorney Kristina Kantar – who answers to the mayor – asked her to introduce the motion so the city would be compliant with state law. But Mayor Thomas McDermott expressed his opposition to repealing local laws.

McDermott, facing the council, said: “I can tell you I have every intention (of) not signing this ordinance if we pass it. I don’t think it’s a good policy to set, and if it’s state law, then let’s let our legislators explain it, why they think it’s safe for us to carry weapons in city buildings.”

Zionsville attorney Guy Relford filed a lawsuit against the city for failing to align with state laws. The class-action suit, Samuel G. Dykstra and Michelle L. Bahus, et al. v. City of Hammond, No. 45D11-1108-PL-00086, seeks relief for a grandmother, a college student, and all people “adversely affected” by Hammond’s local gun ordinances.

“I haven’t just run off and sued any municipality that appears to be lagging behind,” he said. But he said that McDermott’s “open defiance” of the state law is what motivated him to file suit.

Relford also filed a lawsuit in Evansville on behalf of a man whom police removed from a city zoo after he refused to conceal his handgun.

In Benjamin A. Magenheimer v. the City of Evansville, et al., No. 82C01-1109-PL-476, Benjamin Magenheimer claims that on Sept. 10, four city police officers forcibly removed him from Mesker Park Zoo & Botanical Garden when he refused to conceal his handgun.

Relford said that police later claimed Magenheimer caused a scene after being asked to conceal his weapon, but that it’s clear that police violated state law by telling him to conceal his gun. After finding an item in the city’s municipal code that prohibits people from carrying firearms in city parks, Relford amended the original complaint to include a direct challenge to Evansville Municipal Code Section 2.45.070(C)(18).

Relford said that he knows some communities have worked quickly to change their local laws, but he called the incident in Evansville “egregious,” which he said sets it apart from other innocent violations of state law that may naturally occur as a result of outdated local ordinances.•

Rehearing "2 cities face gun-compliance lawsuits" IL Sept. 28-Oct. 11, 2011


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  1. Lori, you must really love wedding cake stories like this one ... happy enuf ending for you?

  2. This new language about a warning has not been discussed at previous meetings. It's not available online. Since it must be made public knowledge before the vote, does anyone know exactly what it says? Further, this proposal was held up for 5 weeks because members Carol and Lucy insisted that all terms used be defined. So now, definitions are unnecessary and have not been inserted? Beyond these requirements, what is the logic behind giving one free pass to discriminators? Is that how laws work - break it once and that's ok? Just don't do it again? Three members of Carmel's council have done just about everything they can think of to prohibit an anti-discrimination ordinance in Carmel, much to Brainard's consternation, I'm told. These three 'want to be so careful' that they have failed to do what at least 13 other communities, including Martinsville, have already done. It's not being careful. It's standing in the way of what 60% of Carmel residents want. It's hurting CArmel in thT businesses have refused to locate because the council has not gotten with the program. And now they want to give discriminatory one free shot to do so. Unacceptable. Once three members leave the council because they lost their races, the Carmel council will have unanimous approval of the ordinance as originally drafted, not with a one free shot to discriminate freebie. That happens in January 2016. Why give a freebie when all we have to do is wait 3 months and get an ordinance with teeth from Day 1? If nothing else, can you please get s copy from Carmel and post it so we can see what else has changed in the proposal?

  3. Here is an interesting 2012 law review article for any who wish to dive deeper into this subject matter: Excerpt: "Judicial interpretation of the ADA has extended public entity liability to licensing agencies in the licensure and certification of attorneys.49 State bar examiners have the authority to conduct fitness investigations for the purpose of determining whether an applicant is a direct threat to the public.50 A “direct threat” is defined as “a significant risk to the health or safety of others that cannot be eliminated by a modification of policies, practices or procedures, or by the provision of auxiliary aids or services as provided by § 35.139.”51 However, bar examiners may not utilize generalizations or stereotypes about the applicant’s disability in concluding that an applicant is a direct threat.52"

  4. We have been on the waiting list since 2009, i was notified almost 4 months ago that we were going to start receiving payments and we still have received nothing. Every time I call I'm told I just have to wait it's in the lawyers hands. Is everyone else still waiting?

  5. I hope you dont mind but to answer my question. What amendment does this case pretain to?