Saturday, January 25, 2014

In:Move to Correct "Roaming School Zones" legislation from 2013

Representative Jim Lucas, R-Seymore, has introduced a bill to reform Indiana law that restricts self defense in or near schools.  The bill HB1048, aims to do a number of things, such as allow people to possess firearms that are locked in vehicles on school property,  change the definition of school property for firearms offenses to the actual buildings rather than all the real estate owned by the school, and perhaps most interestingly, decriminalize "roaming school zones".

What are "roaming school zones", you might ask? 

In 2013, the Indiana legislature passed a bill dealing with school safety.  It included a definition of a school to include:
   Sec. 2. A person who knowingly or
intentionally possesses a firearm:
(1) in or on school property; or
(2) in or on property that is being used by a school for a school function; or
(3) (2) on a school bus;
commits a Class D Level 6 felony.
You can see the problem.  A class from a school takes a field trip to a zoo.  The zoo is being used for a "school function".  Anyone now at the zoo with a firearm has just committed a felony, even though they did nothing.   The "school zone" moved around them. 

I would like to believe that such a law would not pass constitutional muster, but I recall some reports of proposals to make roaming gun free zones around the president in 2009, so I might be premature to think so. 

HB1048 would change the definition to require exclusive use by the school; that the property not be accessible to the general public; and signage to inform people that the area is now a gun free zone.

Sec. 3. For purposes of section 2(2) of this chapter,property that is not school property is being used by a school for
a school function if:
(1) the property is being used exclusively by the school for the
school function;
(2) the property is not accessible to the general public during
the school function; and
(3) a notice conspicuously posted at each entrance to the
property states that the property is being used by the school
for a school function.

It is nice to see a legislator taking the lead to introduce required reforms.  The "roaming school zone" is being described as a legislative mistake.  I hope that they are able to pass the reform needed to correct it.

©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Link to Gun Watch

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