Indiana General Assembly, Governor Mitch Daniels Stand Firm for Hoosier Civil Liberties as Misinformation Campaign Continues

lease Thank Governor Daniels, Senate and House Leadership, and Senate Bill 1’s Authors and Sponsors for their Dedication to Protecting the Civil Liberties of ALL Hoosiers

On March 9, the Indiana General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to reaffirm lawful Hoosiers’ civil liberties disregarded by last year’s state Supreme Court decision, Barnes v. State of Indiana (2011).  On Tuesday, March 20, Governor Mitch Daniels signed Senate Bill 1 into law, reaffirming constitutional rights and the rule of law in Indiana.

Overturning the effects of the Barnes decision was no easy task, especially when bloggers launched a vicious smear campaign that grievously misrepresented the bill language.  This resulted in a severely misinformed public, including many rank-and-file law enforcement officers.

SB 1 was supported by the Indiana Sheriffs’ Association, Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council, Indiana Public Defender Council and Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller.  That such law enforcement and legal entities joined together to support SB 1 speaks to the bill’s integrity as a law which protects both the rights of lawful citizens and law enforcement officers.

Prosecuting attorneys and public defenders alike testified that SB 1 reads nearly word-for-word identical to the Castle Doctrine language that passed overwhelmingly in both legislative chambers and was signed into law in 2006.  Both groups acknowledged that the only change in SB 1 from this Castle Doctrine law is an added protection for police officers that did not exist in the 2006 law.

Several members of the Indiana General Assembly deserve our appreciation for their particular steadfastness in protecting Hoosiers’ civil liberties.  If not for the dedicated efforts by state Senator Brent Steele (R-44), who began the entire process by chairing a summer study committee to study the methods by which to fix the court's decision, the bill author, state Senator Michael Young (R-35) and House sponsor, state Representative Jud McMillin (R-68), Indiana self-defense law and Fourth Amendment rights would not have been properly reaffirmed this year.

Additionally, state Representatives Greg Steuerwald (R-40) – Rep. McMillin’s second House conferee on the final version of the bill -- and Ryan Dvorak (D-8) worked closely with Rep. McMillin to craft the critical House amendment which merited endorsement by the NRA and the above legal and law enforcement entities. The House amendment received critical backing on the Senate floor from Senators Brent Steele, Randy Head (R-18), Travis Holdman (R-19) and Jim Buck (R-21). Senator Mike Delph (R-29) served as the second Senate conferee with author Mike Young.

The NRA would especially like to thank Senate President David Long (R-16) and House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-88) for their leadership and support in seeing the bill through the entire process.

Senate Bill 1 passed in the state Senate 38 to 12; the Indiana House passed it by a 67 to 26 vote.

In his signing statement released Wednesday morning, Governor Mitch Daniels stated, "contrary to some impressions, the bill strengthens the protection of Indiana law enforcement officers by narrowing the situations in which someone would be justified in using force against them."

Governor Daniels went on to explain, "So as a matter of law, law enforcement officers will be better protected than before, not less so."  This act took effect immediately upon the Governor’s signature.  To view the Governor’s statement, please click here.

The National Rifle Association would like to express its sincerest thanks to all who supported this legislation and stood up for the civil liberties of Indiana citizens, and would encourage you to do the same. 

Please click here to read some important factual information about Senate Bill 1.