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Archive for the ‘Law Blog’ Category

Indiana: Muzzleloaders & Felonies

Often times in the fall around deer hunting season I receive the question on whether or not an individual with a felony conviction is able to hunt with muzzleloaders in the state of Indiana. The short answer is, it depends. Under Federal Law, any individual convicted of a felony is prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm. However, the federal definition of a firearm does not include all muzzleloaders, it does include some. Therefore, an individual with an Indiana felony under federal law may be prohibited from possessing certain types of muzzleloaders but it depends on the particular muzzleloader. General rule of thumb is it if requires a background check to purchase then it is a firearm under Federal Law and cannot be possessed by someone with a felony record.

However, the analysis does not end at federal law and we must look at Indiana State Law. Under Indiana State Law a muzzleloader does meet the definition of a firearm under IC 35-47-1-5. However, in Indiana Law, not all felons are prohibited from possessing firearms. Under Indiana law, individuals convicted of domestic battery or a crime listed under the Serious Violent Felon statute in IC 35-47-4-5 are prohibited from possessing a firearm. Therefore, this would include a prohibition against possession of any sort of muzzleloader. It should be noted while that IC 35-47-1-5 is entitled “Serious Violent Felon”, certain types of drug felonies are listed in that statute and thus individuals with convictions for those offenses would be prohibited from possession muzzleloaders under Indiana state law

It is important to have an attorney analyze your individual situation and even the muzzleloader with which you intend to hunt prior to any determination as to whether your felony conviction is a prohibition for possession of a muzzleloader in the state of Indiana.

Please call us at 574-371-2052 and we would be more than happy to set up a consultation to analyze your individual situation. Contact Us

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Major Changes to NFA Trust Rules- 41P

Along with other “gun control” actions being implemented today, the ATF just issued final ruling on the dreaded rule 41P. This has SIGNIFICANT impact on all NFA Trusts. The rule will take effect 180 days from the publishing of the final rule. Call today to discuss how you can insure your NFA Trust is in the best possible position and whether or not you should continue using the trust after the rule is in place.

ATF Final Action

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Teen Driving Law Changes

As of July 1, 2015 new laws will take effect concerning teen drivers in Indiana. First, all drivers under 21 will no longer be able to use any telecommunications device while behind the wheel. The only exception to this is calling 911 in case of an emergency.

Also, nighttime driving will be restricted for teen drivers 18 and under. Unsupervised drivers 18 and under must have their vehicles parked from 11:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m. Sunday through Thursday nights. In addition, there is no driving allowed between 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday mornings. The only exceptions would include work, school activities or a religious event.

There is some good news for teen drivers beginning July 1, 2015. All teens who have completed an approved driver’s education course are now eligible to get their probationary license when they are 16 years and 90 days. Before they would have had to wait until 180 days after their 16th birthday. To be eligible they will need to have completed 50 hours of supervised logged driving time and held a permit for at least 180 days.

Any teen driver must wait to begin their driver’s education course training until they have a driver education permit and be 15 years of age. If a teen chooses not to enroll in a driver education course, they must wait until they are 16 years and 270 days until they are eligible to obtain a probationary license.  CONTACT

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Indiana Short-Barrel Shotguns

As of July 1, 2015, Indiana law will allow for the legal ownership of short-barrel shotguns in the State of Indiana. The new legislation does away with Indiana’s state law prohibition against short-barrel shotgun ownership. However, all National Firearm Act (“NFA”) regulations regarding the ownership, registration and taxation apply. Without proper registration with the BATFE, the ownership or possession of a short-barrel shotgun in Indiana will still be illegal. This change to the Indiana law simply allows for responsible Indiana firearm owners to own all classes of firearms under the NFA. For assistance with proper manufacturing, registration and ownership of short-barrel shotguns or any other NFA items, please feel free to CONTACT our firm. 574-371-2052

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NFA Item Engraving: Yagsters, LLC

If you are looking for someplace to do your SBR or AOW engraving, Turner Valentine, LLP highly recommends Yagsters, LLC. We have had them engrave some of our personal projects and every one of them has turned out fantastic! They are based in Kosciusko County and are a Federally Licensed 07 FFL Manufacturer. It doesn’t matter where you are located, Terry would be more than happy to talk to you about your NFA engraving project.  Give them a call at 574-658-4037. Due to the nature of their FFL, Yagsters, LLC does not accept walk-ins so you must call ahead for an appointment.

Please contact our office if you are interested in setting up a NFA trust.

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Changes to Good Time Credit

Indiana Criminal Code Revisions Changes Good Time Credit

As mentioned in a previous blog, the 2013 Criminal Code Revision will go into effect July 1, 2014. One the most major changes the revision brings concerns Good Time Credit. Currently, the majority of offenders get 1 day credit for each day served. For a two year sentence, with Good Time Credit the individual would serve one year. Beginning July 1, 2014, offenders, other than those convicted of a class 6 felony, will only receive 1 day credit for every 3 days served. In other words, offenders will be required to serve 75% of their sentences instead of the current 50%. Class 6 felonies will still receive 1 day credit for each day served.

Current law:

Class Range (years) Time Served at 50% GTC Adv. Sentence Time Served at 50% GTC
Murder 45-65 22.5-32.5 55 27.5
A 20-50 10-25 30 15
B 6-20 3-10 10 5
C 2-8 1-4 4 2
D 0.5-3 0.25-1.5 1.5 0.75


New law:

Class Range (years) Time Served at 25% GTC, 50% Level 6 Adv. Sentence Time Served at 25% GTC, 50% Level 6
Murder 45-65 33.75-48.75 55 41.25
1 20-40 15-30 30 22.5
2 10-30 7.5-22.5 17.5 13.13
3 3-16 2.5-12 9 6.75
4 2-12 1.5-9 6 4.5
5 1-6 0.75-4.5 3 2.25
6 0.5-2.5 0.25-1.25 1 0.5


Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard says, “The bill allows us to get tougher on our most violent criminals. This bill has been described as being fair to the people who have disappointed us and harsh to those people who have scared us.”

If you have any questions regarding how these changes will apply to you or your loved one, please feel free to contact our office.

Turner Valentine, LLP: 574-371-2052

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Changes in Felony Classification

Beginning July 1, 2014, the 2013 Criminal Code Revision will go into effect. One major change to the new law is how felony offenses will be classified. Currently, Indiana is using an A-D system to classify felony offenses. Starting in July, felonies will be classified using a 1-6 system. Class A felonies will be broken up into levels 1 and 2 felonies, Class B felonies into levels 3 and 4 felonies, Class C felonies will become level 5 felonies, and Class D felonies will become level 6 felonies. The change to the 1-6 system was created to help separate more serious offenses from less serious offenses, such as drug possession and property crimes. If you have any questions regarding these changes, please feel free to contact our office.

Turner Valentine, LLP: 574-371-2052

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New Indiana Criminal Code Brings Changes

New Indiana Criminal Code Brings Changes to Felony Classification

 The 2013 Criminal Code Revision will go into effect beginning July 1, 2014. Major changes to the Indiana Criminal Code have not been made since 1977. Over the past eight years, Indiana’s prison population has grown by 41 percent. In that time, the cost of maintaining these prisons has risen from $100 million to $600 million. The new changes being made to the Indiana Criminal Code are predicted to help solve some of these problems.

The first major change is how offenses will be classified, and the lengths of sentences for each classification. Currently felonies are classified and sentenced as follows:

  • Murder: 45-65 years in prison (Advisory Sentence 55 years)
  • Class A Felony: 20-50 years in prison (Advisory Sentence 30 years)
  • Class B Felony: 6-20 years in prison (Advisory Sentence 10 years)
  • Class C Felony: 2-8 years in prison (Advisory Sentence 4 years)
  • Class D Felony: 6 months-3 years in prison (Advisory Sentence 1.5 years)

Beginning in July, felonies will be classified and sentenced as follows:

  • Murder: 45-65 years in prison (Advisory Sentence 55 years)
  • Level 1 Felony: 20-40 years in prison (Advisory Sentence 30 years)
  • Level 2 Felony: 10-30 years in prison (Advisory Sentence 17.5 years)
  • Level 3 Felony: 3-16 years in prison (Advisory Sentence 9 years)
  • Level 4 Felony: 2-12 years in prison (Advisory Sentence 6 years)
  • Level 5 Felony: 1-6 years in prison (Advisory Sentence 3 years)
  • Level 6 Felony: 6 months-2.5 years in prison (Advisory Sentence 1 years)

The new changes in felony classification were created to help separate severe offenses from less violent offenses, such as drug possession and property crimes. Under the new law, the penalties for possession of narcotics and marijuana are significantly reduced.  There has also been major changes to the Good Time Credit Statute. If you have questions regarding how these changes will apply to your case, please feel free to contact our office.

Turner Valentine, LLP: 574-371-2052

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Proposed ATF Rules May Limit Gun Ownership

In addition to the changes that the ATF is proposing in regards to the use of gun trust for NFA items, there is another proposed change which has not received quite as much publicity.  While it may not have received as much attention, this one is possibly even more concerning from an individual gun rights perspective.

Currently under Section 922(g) of the Gun Control Act of 1968, certain individuals are prohibited from receiving, shipping or transporting firearms.  Among other things, this includes individuals who have been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year, a fugitive from justice, a person convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence and an individual who has been adjudicated as mentally defective or committed to a mental institution.  The new rule focuses on this last category. The ATF’s amendments are made administratively and do not require any sort of act by Congress in order to implement.  The latest proposed rule change attempts to define “adjudicated as mentally defective” and what is defined as being “committed to a mental institution”.  A concern for gun owners arises out of the definition which the ATF is trying to apply to “committed to a mental institution”.  The term “committed to a mental institution” is not specifically defined in Gun Control Act of 1968 and therefore the ATF has administrative powers to set the definition.

New proposed rules would first allow the term to be applied to individuals who while under the age of 18 had been committed to a mental institution.  Therefore, anyone under the age of 18 who may have been committed to a mental institution would be prohibited from possessing or purchasing a firearm for the rest of their lives.

The second expansion under the new proposed rule is even more shocking; the ATF is proposing that the definition “committed to a mental institution” include involuntary inpatient and OUTPATIENT commitments.  While it is clear from the reading of 922(g) an inpatient commitment would categorize as a prohibition for the purchase or possession of a firearm, the proposed ATF rule changes would allow for the application of this rule to anyone who was involuntarily committed to outpatient services at a mental health facility.

Therefore, the concern is how far this will be applied.  For example, in the Kosciusko County Courts all individuals who file for dissolution and have kids are court ordered to undergo Transparenting Classes at a local mental health facility inWarsaw,Indiana. The Department of Justice may view that as an “involuntary outpatient commitment” and possibly prohibit the possession or purchase of firearms due to the fact that there is a court order on record showing an individual’s commitment to the outpatient classes at a mental institution.

Another possible disconcerting application of this could also be applied to Misdemeanor OWI cases in which most Court’s standard procedure is to order outpatient therapy at a local mental institution in the county.  The concern is that if this rule were to be passed by the ATF these types of court orders for treatment at a mental institution would become prohibitions for the possession and purchase of firearms.

If you are concerned how an upcoming court proceeding may affect your right to possess firearms, please contact us to set up a consultation to see how best to protect those rights.

Turner Valentine, LLP: 574-371-2052

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ATF to Change Rules for NFA Trusts

We are seeing more and more purchases of Class III firearms in the state of Indiana. This is partially due to the national political climate, and also due to the fact that it is no longer against Indiana law to hunt with the use of a suppressor in certain circumstances.  Suppressors are coming out of the “movies” and into the reality that they provide a safer, more responsible means of hunting and target shooting.

Turner Valentine has been in the business of drafting NFA trusts as a way for individuals to possess Class III Type Firearms for some time.  Class III type firearms include short barrel rifles, suppressors, machine guns, certain destructive devices, and what are categorized as Any Other Weapons.  The NFA trust acts as its own entity which possesses the items and allows the trustee to take advantage of certain legal protections for a gun enthusiast and their loved ones.  Turner Valentine has posted in more detail on these trusts in the past and those blogs can still be found on our website.

Currently the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms has proposed making changes to the rules surrounding NFA trusts.  These rule changes would require any NFA trust transfers to seek the signature of a Chief Law Enforcement Officer and submit photographs, fingerprints and background check on all individuals named in the trust.  While these rule changes have not taken effect, we believe that they will pass and this change will be implemented sometime later this year.

While we have not come to a conclusion on this, we believe when these changes take effect we will no longer recommend NFA trusts for these purchase of Class III firearms.  All of the NFA trusts that we have drafted in the past for clients will remain in effect and retain all the benefits they had when they were originally drafted.  However, future transfers into those trusts and future transfers into new NFA trusts will likely require far more effort than what the benefits of the NFA trust afford.

While we cannot be sure, it is our opinion that all transfers which are in the queue for approval with the ATF will likely be grandfathered once the rule takes place.  Due to this, we are seeing a run on an individual wanting to open NFA trusts and file either Form 1 or Form 4 documents with the ATF.  In light of these upcoming changes, Turner Valentine is changing the cost of the standard NFA trust from $750 to a cost of $500 for all future NFA trusts.  Please contact our office if you are interested in setting up a trust or have questions on how the rule changes would affect your current trust.

Turner Valentine, LLP: 574-371-2052

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