In an Official Opinion, the Indiana Attorney General explains why local political subdivisions cannot restrict firearm sales during an emergency declaration.
Following reports that local political authorities were deeming the dealers of firearms and ammunition nonessential during a pandemic, a request was made to the Attorney General to clarify the scope of authority of local government to regulate firearms and ammunition sale under state law. The Attorney General determined that Indiana “home rule” laws did not allow restrictions by local government entities, for the following reasons:
- The governor’s Executive Order outlining the parameters of the stay at home rules deemed “firearm and ammunition suppliers” as essential businesses/operations;
- U.S. Department of Homeland Security recommendations for essential services listed firearm or ammunition retailers on their list, and that list was incorporated into the Executive Order;
- Indiana’s home rule law explicitly prohibits political subdivisions from regulating commerce in firearms and ammunition;
- Indiana disaster laws explicitly include similar prohibitions.