Legality of discharging a weapon in Indianapolis / Marion County

SirRealism

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I've seen quite a few people here claim that it's illegal to discharge a weapon within Indianapolis city limits. However, my understanding is that the law in question makes it illegal within "old" city limits, prior to incorporation.

I've read through the municipal code 451-2. (Municode.com | Online Library), and it seems to apply only to the police special service district. That special service, defined in 111-2, does indeed seem to be the old, non-incorporated city limits.

I found where the City County Council tried in 2007 (proposal 174) to expand that to all of Marion County, but it failed on 5/22/2007 (http://www.indy.gov/eGov/Council/PDF/Council/Minutes/06-11-07min.pdf)

Am I missing something?
 

SirRealism

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BTW, one of the reasons I'm asking this is due to reading several counts of people getting completely screwed after protecting themselves from dogs, and then reporting it to the police. After reading their stories, I'm not sure I would report having fired a shot.
 

redneckmedic

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My understanding... without having it cited, and told by many (urban legend?) is that it is only illegal to discharge a firearm inside the 465 loop.

That's all I've got, hear-say. Since I live in the country, this is no longer a concern to me, and I haven't researched it any further :D
 

Bummer

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Everything I've read keeps coming back to the original city limits. While I think that a certain amount of discretion would be wise - completely freaking out the neighbors might draw more attention than would be welcome - it would appear that outside the old city limits discharging a weapon is legal. Of course, IANAL, not intended as legal advice, safety first, etc.

That being said, I'm not going to be reporting any shots fired unless the neighbors are getting crazier than I am.
 
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The original no-discharge order applied only to the center township "police protection zone"

That was amended a few years ago by a CCC measure that now applies to all of Marion County. I don't have the actual ordinance at hand, but it was in the last five years.


EDIT:

I can't find this for the LIFE of me. I swear this was big news a few years ago. Now i'm really interested! Tagging for everyone else's followup.
 

SirRealism

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The original no-discharge order applied only to the center township "police protection zone"

That was amended a few years ago by a CCC measure that now applies to all of Marion County. I don't have the actual ordinance at hand, but it was in the last five years.


EDIT:

I can't find this for the LIFE of me. I swear this was big news a few years ago. Now i'm really interested! Tagging for everyone else's followup.

Yeah, I found several news stories from back in 2007. But the PDF I linked showed that it didn't pass (that time, at least).
 

Josh Ward

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Question, why does one need to "report" the fact that he/she was forced to defend themselves from a dog??? Dead dogs tell no tales, and most live ones don't either. I'm one would tend to give a dog more of benefit of the doubt than most, due to my carear, but dogs are similar to people, most are good individuals, but there are a few that need a bullet.
 

SirRealism

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Question, why does one need to "report" the fact that he/she was forced to defend themselves from a dog??? Dead dogs tell no tales, and most live ones don't either. I'm one would tend to give a dog more of benefit of the doubt than most, due to my carear, but dogs are similar to people, most are good individuals, but there are a few that need a bullet.

Dog basher! :D
 

Sylvain

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I was wondering the same.
It may be looking for trouble to report having shot a dog to the police but what if you dont report it and somehow they find out what you did.
Would you be in greater troubles if you didnt report the shooting at first?

Anyway if you are in a situation where you need to defend your life I dont think you're going to think about the legality.
 

kevman65

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Can't cite the Criminal Code, but neighbor discharged a 9mm handgun (repeatedly) at an apparent rabid raccoon that was after his dog. Someone called IMPD, they rolled. He was arrested, his weapon(s) confiscated. He appeared in court and plead guilty to discharging a firearm inside the city limits. Paid a fine, its on his record (A or B misdemeanor, don't remember) he did get his weapons back.

We are outside the loop, but inside the city limits.
 
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Can't cite the Criminal Code, but neighbor discharged a 9mm handgun (repeatedly) at an apparent rabid raccoon that was after his dog. Someone called IMPD, they rolled. He was arrested, his weapon(s) confiscated. He appeared in court and plead guilty to discharging a firearm inside the city limits. Paid a fine, its on his record (A or B misdemeanor, don't remember) he did get his weapons back.

We are outside the loop, but inside the city limits.

If you could find out from your neighbor what criminal violation he was charged with, we would be greatly appreciative.
 

kevman65

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If you could find out from your neighbor what criminal violation he was charged with, we would be greatly appreciative.


I can ask, but he really is uncooperative about the situation. One of the neighbors called on him and no one has fessed up on it so he suspects us all.
 

bobjones223

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Ok, going to drag this one back out.

This is an a different note though. I have access to some great ground along the White River on the south side where all the gravel pits are. I am wondering if I can harvest deer there with a firearm? It is still located in the DNR deer reduction area so this would give me firearm access from Nov. 15th through Jan 31st.

And on the same note wouldn't everyone participating in the Eagle Creek deer reduction hunt be subject to criminal charges?
 

boman

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Found these Indystar articles dated October 11, 2013 and April 15, 2014. also looking into the current code the wording from the original 1975 ordinance has not changed so the way I understand it it is still legal to discharge a firearm outside the old city limits in Marion county. Angela Mansfield has tried several times to get this change thru and came close. see below.

October 11, 2013 article


  • Measure on police tax district had expanded city's gunfire ban to the entire county
  • Mayor's aides, some council members say they never intended to expand ban
  • Council member who knew about measure's impact says she stayed mum because she supports ban
146 CONNECT 32 TWEET 1 LINKEDIN 16 COMMENTEMAILMORE

INDIANAPOLIS -- The recent expansion of an Indianapolis police tax district came with a surprising side effect: It also would ban target practice, hunting and random shooting of guns in outer parts of Marion County, where the city is located.
On Friday, Mayor Greg Ballard's administration sought to neutralize that change before it takes effect Jan. 1. His office issued a notice, signed by Public Safety Director Troy Riggs, that grants people blanket permission to use their firearms in outlying parts of the county where it long has been legal.
The move ended a scramble by the mayor's office to fix an inadvertent (and potentially controversial) tightening of gun restrictions in Marion County.
There also was an element of intrigue in the City-County Council, where Democratic member Angela Mansfield, who long has sought to expand the gunfire ban area, said she knew about the tax district change's impact — and decided to say nothing.
Ballard's aides and fellow Republican council members expressed surprise about the expansion after being alerted to it by The Indianapolis Star late Thursday.
They said they never intended to expand the area covered by the gunfire ban when they passed the tax district expansion last month.
Since 1975, the ban on gunfire, except for self-defense, has applied roughly to the old city limits. But the expansion of the police taxing district from the old city to the entire county also correspondingly expanded the gunfire ban.
Now, however, it appears that gun owners outside the old city limits won't see any change.
The firearms discharge ordinance allows shooting a weapon within the ban area if a person has "the prior written approval of the department of public safety."
Ballard's spokesman says the blanket notice issued by Riggs on Friday serves that purpose for everyone outside the old city limits.
"There are still rural areas in the county," Ryan Vaughn, Ballard's chief of staff, told The Star. "It makes sense to regulate areas that are more dense differently than you would the more-rural areas."
Mansfield, the council Democrat, long has pushed to expand the firearm discharge ordinance to the entire county. She proposed the change in 2007. But in the face of vocal opposition at meetings from gun-rights supporters, who decried the targeting of safe shooting on private property, the council voted down her proposal 16-8.
Six years later, Mansfield says she and a few other Democrats were aware in recent months that the proposed tax district expansion, a bipartisan measure pushed by the Republican mayor to help fund next year's budget, would have the same effect.
But they stayed mum. And the measure squeaked through the council, 15-12, garnering the minimum number of votes needed to pass. Mansfield voted for it.
She spoke up only after Ballard signed the measure into law late last week.
"I was quite tickled to death that the mayor was able to accomplish what I couldn't years ago," Mansfield told The Star.
But she said she wouldn't be surprised to see efforts to curtail the change quickly. And that's what happened Friday with Riggs' notice.
Several Indiana cities, including Carmel, Greenfield, Fort Wayne and Evansville, have similar gunfire bans. Inside Marion County, so do Lawrence, Speedway and Beech Grove.
Boyd King, a 75-year-old Army veteran, is among gun owners who spoke up loudly in 2007 about the potential erosion of gun rights they said would result from Mansfield's original proposal. They packed meetings, helping to kill it.
This week, he was shaking his head at city leaders' snafu.
He occasionally test-fires reconditioned bullets into the ground around his backyard shed but says he doesn't do much shooting otherwise lately.
"Once they start jacking around with the Constitution, anything can happen," Boyd said. "I think (responsible shooting) should even be allowed within the city limits, but with some caution, because anybody who owns a firearm should know how to use it, and use it right."


April 15, 2014 article

(Photo: Indiana State Police website )

The City-County Council voted Monday to let residents in outlying Marion County continue to discharge weapons recreationally, fearing that banning it would violate state law.
Corporation Counsel Andy Seiwert said passing a ban could open the city up to lawsuits because a 2011 gun bill passed by the Indiana General Assembly prohibits cities from passing their own, tougher ordinances.
"The risk of enacting a ban has a great downside," Seiwert said before the meeting.
But a ban has been on the books in *Indianapolis since at least 1975. It prohibits target practice, hunting and random shooting of guns. Violators are subject to a fine.
Council sues: Seeks record from Ballard administration
City lawyers discovered that the ordinance was actually "void," or unenforceable, because of the state law. Councilwoman Angela Mansfield pressed ahead anyway with an ordinance that would expand the ban to the outer county. She said those once-rural areas are now developed and populated and it was dangerous to allow guns to be discharged there.
Councilman Will Gooden said state law allows citizens to sue municipalities that pass their own gun laws.
"My concern is we are exposing ourselves to extreme consequences, *extreme liability and extreme costs," Gooden said.
Councilman Ben Hunter called the state law "an affront to home rule" but agreed it was too chancy to challenge it.
Proponents of expanding the ordinance said residents near the White River and Keystone Avenue have been terrified by duck hunters in recent years. They argued it is only a matter of time until someone is struck by gunfire.
Councilwoman Christine Scales, an ordinance proponent, said after the meeting the council had put money ahead of safety.
"We are talking about people's lives, and we are concerned about cost," she said.
It was not immediately clear whether the city needs to repeal its ban to comply with state law.
 

Fargo

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Can't cite the Criminal Code, but neighbor discharged a 9mm handgun (repeatedly) at an apparent rabid raccoon that was after his dog. Someone called IMPD, they rolled. He was arrested, his weapon(s) confiscated. He appeared in court and plead guilty to discharging a firearm inside the city limits. Paid a fine, its on his record (A or B misdemeanor, don't remember) he did get his weapons back.

We are outside the loop, but inside the city limits.
Ordinances cannot make misdemeanors and there is nothing in the criminal code about discharge in city limits. Perhaps he was arrested for criminal recklessness?
 
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