Hammond Mayor Thomas M. McDermott along with sponsors Councilmen Dave Woerpel and Scott Rakos have filed a proposed ordinance pertaining to the regulation of the discharge of firearms within City limits. “I want to thank Councilman Woerpel and Rakos to support my administration’s efforts to curtail the reckless and unnecessary discharge of weapons in our city. These reckless acts endanger life and property and we must put an end to this needless gun activity in the city.”
The ordinance deems it unlawful for any person to fire or discharge a firearm of any kind or nature whatsoever within the City. Additionally, parents or guardians of a person under 18 will be held responsible if a minor violates the ordinance. The violation of any provision of this ordinance shall constitute a civil nuisance and allow civil action to be taken by the city against the offenders or the offense is punishable by a sizable fine as an ordinance violation. Each violation shall constitute a separate offense.
This ordinance is being filed this week on a somber anniversary. This week marks the fifth anniversary of Noah Inman’s death. On July 1, 2017 an innocent young 13-year-old named Noah Inman was with his friends and cousins playing basketball in a Hammond neighborhood in the middle of the day during a family 4th of July party when a falling bullet struck him in his head. After a week of agonizing mental, emotional pain and grief suffered by his family and friends, Noah succumbed to his injuries and passed away on July 8, 2018. Today, the family still morns the loss of their son and are frustrated by the unconscionable act that claimed their sons life. “We honor Noah and remember him and I believe filing this ordinance on the anniversary of this unspeakable tragedy is the right thing to do. We are trying to do what the Indiana General Assembly refused to do and that is shameful,” said the mayor.
In 2018, and inspired by Noah’s story, State Representative Linda Lawson proposed legislation in the Indiana General Assembly that would make it a level 6 felony to fire a loaded gun into the air within city or town limits without legal justification. The proposed legislation never received a hearing. Later, in 2020, Indiana State Representatives Michael Andrade and Carolyn Jackson also proposed legislation before the Indiana legislature to criminalize recklessly discharging firearms in city limits to no avail. The bill never even received a committee hearing.
“We must do something”, stated Mayor McDermott. “The time has come where politicians and citizens need to unite for the common good of stopping the senseless slaughter of our youth by gun violence. We need to enact legislation that prevents another life being loss from the senseless discharging of a firearm within the city limits.” The ordinance will be heard on first and second reading this Monday, July 11th at the Hammond City Council meeting at 6 p.m.