Animal welfare group seeks to halt rifle rule in Indiana
INDIANAPOLIS — An animal welfare group has requested that a judge toss an emergency rule recently approved by Indiana’s wildlife agency to allow rifle-hunting on state or federal property.
The Center for Wildlife Ethics filed their request with LaPorte Circuit Court Judge Thomas Alevizos on Thursday, the Indianapolis Star reported.
“I’m concerned that the DNR can subvert the legislature,” said Laura Nirenberg, an attorney for the center. “They are exceeding their statutory authority.”
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources issued the rule Nov. 3 as a way to fix what was described as a legislative mistake earlier this year that banned rifles in public forests.
The state rule will allow rifles during the firearms deer-hunting season that begins Saturday. It expires Feb. 1.
Rep. Sean Eberhart, R-Shelbyville, sponsored the ban. He has said the rifle-hunting ban was meant only to clarify rules regarding the use of high-powered ammunition on private property.
Eberhart said that he hopes to fix the law when the Legislature reconvenes in January.
The ethics group argues that the ban is a “clear legislative mandate.”
A department spokesman said the agency believes it took appropriate action and stands by its decision.
Laura Nirenberg, the chief counsel for the Center for Wildlife Ethics, said Alevizos has set a hearing for Monday to consider the group’s request.