Effective July 1, 2022, gun owners in Indiana may go most places with their firearms, whether or not they have a license to carry and, yes, that means even at your local public library. HEA 1296, passed by the Indiana General Assembly in the 2022 legislative session, removes the requirement for firearm owners to have a license to carry a firearm in Indiana. How does this impact your local public library? Well, it doesn’t significantly, it just removes another restriction on gun owners in the state.
In 2011, the Indiana General Assembly created a law that prohibited political subdivisions from creating regulations related to firearms, including ammunition, storage and carrying. Public libraries are considered political subdivisions under Indiana law, so at that point, libraries lost the ability to keep firearms out of libraries. There are a few exceptions that would permit a library to regulate firearms in the library. For example, library boards can create and enforce a policy that prohibits or restricts the intentional display of a firearm at the library’s public meetings – meetings held by the library board or library board committees.
There is also an exception that allows employers to restrict employees who are on duty in the building from carrying a firearm. However, the employees must be allowed to keep their firearms in their locked vehicles stored in the glove compartment or trunk or otherwise out of plain view. Libraries cannot ask about firearm ownership on employment applications or make ownership or non-ownership a condition of employment.
This blog post was written by Sylvia Watson, library law consultant and legal counsel, Indiana State Library. For more information, email Sylvia.