The Decriminalization of a Constitutional Right – SB 506

(By Phyllis Klosinski, Brown County, IN)

The Libertarian Legislative Think Tank has swiftly reacted to a Senate bill proposing measured restoration of the Constitutional Right to Bear Arms, prompting extensive discussion overwhelmingly expressing support.

A Restoration of a Constitutional right: why have we become so willing to “accept” back what government has arbitrarily taken from us? This legislation is an attempt to provide less government, and correct legislation which limits individual freedom by moving closer to the explicit terms of the Constitution.

The LP platform promotes individual freedom, including the presumption of innocent until proven guilty, with the qualification of accepting individual personal responsibility. It is up to the government to prove an individual has relinquished the right to bear arms.

Instead under current law, the individual must prove they are worthy of exercising their Constitutional right.

Existing Code (Indiana Code 35-47-2) prohibits carrying a handgun in any vehicle or on the person’s body, except in the person’s dwelling, on the person’s property or fixed place of business, unless a license is issued by the State.

Senate Bill 506 would allow a person to carry a handgun on or about the person’s body without being licensed. One exception is a person with that has been convicted of domestic battery may not carry a gun unless given permission by a judge.

Employers are not allowed to prohibit an employee from possessing a firearm or ammunition that is secured in the employees locked vehicle unless allowed under IC 34-28-7-2(b).

Prohibitions against persons not convicted of violence against another limit and regulate the unequivocal clause “The people shall have the right to bear arms, for the defense of themselves and the state”.

The Legislative Services Agency reports that under the current law carrying a handgun without a license ranges in penalty from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class C felony. Punishment by prison term ranges from two to eight years. Constitutional safeguards against cruel and unusual punishment could not have been given due consideration when the current code established punishment imposed upon citizens for the victimless crime of carrying a handgun.

Costs for incarceration are examined as are the explanation of state revenues and the probable loss of revenue due to fewer licenses being issued, fewer arrests being made, loss of fines collected and the possible impact to several state funds and local revenues. Loss of revenue is reviewed by the Legislature when considering many of the bills enacted. What does consideration of revenue gains or losses have to do with enacting or removing legislation which controls Constitutional rights?

Senate Bill 0506 should generate strong support from LP members despite its limitations. However, when contacting your district Legislators and the Authors register your concern over why this bill only accomplished partial decriminalization of the innocent citizen. Suggest language which would improve the bill to bring it closer to the first priority, the Constitutional protection of individual rights.

To register your position contacts are:

Senate Bill 0506, Authors; Tomes, Kruse, co-authors Banks C., Nugent, Smith, Schneider, Waltz.

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