This is a discussion on Indiana's Third CCW-Friendly Law In Recent Memory within the The Second Amendment & Gun Legislation Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; eptember 22, 2006 Pack a picnic -- or a gun DNR lifts ban on handguns in state parks for at least 1 year By Will ...
eptember 22, 2006
Pack a picnic -- or a gun
DNR lifts ban on handguns in state parks for at least 1 year
By Will Higgins
September 22, 2006
It's now legal to carry a handgun in Indiana's state parks, a move seen as the latest victory for the gun lobby in Indiana.
In the past, you had to keep your piece locked in your car. But under a provisional rule change, announced Thursday by the Department of Natural Resources, licensed handgun owners can pack while birding, hiking, picnicking -- whatever.
DNR Director Kyle Hupfer announced the news a day before Gov. Mitch Daniels was to share the stage with National Rifle Association President Sandra S. Froman at a forum on gun rights at the Dearborn County Fairgrounds in Lawrenceburg.
Hupfer said he came under no political pressure to change park handgun restrictions. "This is just (a regulation) I found and brought to the attention of the governor," he said. "We've been trying to slowly work our way through all aspects of the agency."
Hupfer, an avid hunter and NRA member, became DNR director in March 2005.
"We're a society of rights," he said, "and it's a basic constitutional right of citizens to bear arms, and any restrictions on that need to be narrow in scope. You can carry (handguns) into a . . . a Wal-Mart. I don't understand why our forest would be different."
In addition to the 24 state parks, handguns will be allowed on all DNR land.
The handgun rule is temporary, in effect for a year unless it is renewed or approved by the Natural Resource Commission.
Rep. Matt Pierce, D-Bloomington, said he saw the move as an attempt to bolster public support for Daniels, whose popularity has flagged in recent polls.
"The link with the NRA suggests to me it's all political," Pierce said. "I've never had someone complain to me they couldn't carry their gun into a park."
The NRA declined to say how many of its members live in Indiana, but many Hoosiers do tote guns. An Indianapolis Star report two years ago found that nearly one in 15 state residents has a gun permit, putting Indiana near the top nationally in per-capita gun permits. State Police officials said there are about 288,000 active handgun permits in Indiana.
Daniels is not an NRA member, but he was endorsed by the NRA in his election bid two years ago, and Froman attended his inauguration, said Sen. Johnny Nugent, R-Lawrenceburg, a longtime NRA member who helped organize tonight's event.
Nugent said the forum was "a way for the NRA to recognize efforts in the state legislature."
He was referring to two bills passed in the Indiana General Assembly earlier this year, one making Indiana the first state in the nation to offer a lifetime license to carry a handgun. Such licenses had previously required renewals every four years. The NRA also has applauded passage of House Bill 1028, which affirmed Hoosiers' right to use deadly force when threatened without having to first try to back away from an assailant.
The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, a national gun-control group, gives Indiana a "D" for its gun laws, ahead of just 17 states. This latest move lowers Indiana's standing further in the Brady group's estimation.
"I know I won't feel safer going to a state park thinking everyone could be carrying a gun," said Paul Helmke, the former Republican mayor of Fort Wayne who now heads the group. "I'm not anti-gun. I have no problem with hunters, sportsmen or people for personal protection. But the whole idea we're safer with more people carrying makes no sense to me."
In defending the move, Hupfer, who is rarely seen without a holstered pistol, said a gun could come in handy in the woods should a hiker happen upon people making methamphetamine, an illegal drug that can make its users antagonistic. The drug is often brewed in rural, out-of-the-way places.
"If my life or my wife's life was at risk," Hupfer said, "I want to be in a position to protect her and myself."
Donna Jacobs, who manned the front desk at the Canyon Inn at McCormick's Creek State Park for 18 years, has been around guns. Her husband hunts. But she is cool to the notion that her customers can now arm themselves. "I don't like the idea of everyone being able to carry (guns) around here," she said. "But they can carry them everywhere else, so . . ."
The DNR's new rule also allows licensed guns to be carried by bow hunters and by people running dogs for opossum and raccoon in the chasing season.
The state's parks don't permit rifles unless a rare hunt is allowed.
I'm leaving by 12:00pm today to go to Salamonie State Forest to camp in celebration. If'n ya'll are the prayin' type, I'd really like some nice weather as I have some good eats that are best prepared over an open fire. It began raining last night after a lot of good weather.
Josh - saw this announced by NRA and it was good to see. To be hoped it just might ''catch on'' elsewhere.
I think this really fits a ''2A'' type subject matter so will move it over to that forum.
Chris - P95
NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.
"To own a gun and assume that you are armed
is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."
http://www.rkba-2a.com/ - a portal for 2A links, articles and some videos.