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. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.