Preemption Statute

The Indiana General Assembly has largely removed the ability of local governments to regulate firearms. Specifically, Indiana law prohibits local governments from regulating firearms, ammunition, or firearm accessories or the “ownership, possession, carrying, transportation, registration, transfer, and storage” or “commerce in and taxation of” these items.1

In 2014, Indiana prohibited localities and law enforcement agencies from using public funds to purchase privately owned firearms via a “buyback program” if the purpose of the program is to reduce the number of civilian-owned firearms or to permit civilians to sell firearms to the government without fear of prosecution.2

Exceptions

Limited exceptions to this comprehensive preemption statute allow local governments to:

  • Authorize an employer to restrict an employee from carrying firearms and ammunition in the course of his or her official duties.3 However, employees may not be prohibited from storing a firearm in the trunk, glove compartment or other area out of sight of the employee’s locked vehicle.4 In 2014, Indiana repealed a law allowing local governments to prohibit school employees from carrying firearms on school property, buses or property being used for a school function.5
  • Enact zoning or business ordinances that apply to firearms businesses as long as the ordinance also applies in the same way to similar businesses. However, a local government may not, with one limited exception, prohibit the sale of firearms within a specified distance from a school or other land use.6
  • Prohibit or restrict the possession of a firearm in buildings containing courtrooms. However, the local government may not prohibit or restrict the possession of firearms by concealed carry permittees in courthouses nor may they prohibit possession in the portion of the courthouse building occupied by a residential tenant or private business.7
  • Enforce restrictions imposed by organizers of events on property leased by local governments.8
  • Enact and enforce a provision prohibiting or restricting the possession of a firearm in a county hospitals.9
  • Prohibit the possession of firearms in buildings owned by the locality if metal detection devices are located at each public entrance and are staffed by at least one law enforcement officer to inspect people and bags.10

Note, however, that a local government cannot prohibit or restrict the possession of a handgun in a building it owns or administers, other than a building containing a courtroom, if the person possessing the handgun has a valid license issued under Indiana’s statutory licensing scheme to carry a handgun.11

Interpretation

As of the date this page was last updated, Giffords Law Center is not aware of any significant case law interpreting Indiana’s preemption statutes.

Immunity

For state laws prohibiting local units of government (i.e., cities and counties) from filing certain types of lawsuits against the gun industry, see our page on Immunity Statutes in Indiana.

Notes
  1. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-11.1-2. ⤴︎
  2. Ind. Code Ann. §§ 35-47-3.5-1 to 35-47-3.5-3. ⤴︎
  3. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-11.1-4(2). ⤴︎
  4. Ind. Code Ann. § 34-28-7-2(a). ⤴︎
  5. 2014 Indiana Senate Bill 229. ⤴︎
  6. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-11.1-4(4), (12). ⤴︎
  7. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-11.1-4(5). ⤴︎
  8. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-11.1-4(10). ⤴︎
  9. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-11.1-4(11). ⤴︎
  10. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-11.1-4(13). ⤴︎
  11. Id. ⤴︎