Indiana officials can’t ban guns from boat race

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (AP) — An Indiana city won’t be able to ban firearms from an annual high-speed boat race on the Ohio River that draws tens of thousands of spectators.

Jeffersonville City Attorney Les Merkley told city officials that they can’t enforce a plan to ban guns at Saturday’s Thunder Over Louisville due to a 2011 Indiana law that bars local governments from regulating where people with permits to carry guns can take their firearms.

Merkley told the City Council on Thursday that local governments lack authority to enact any regulation concerning firearms, The Courier-Journal of Louisville, Ky., and the News and Tribune of Jeffersonville reported. Local governments can ban guns only from buildings that house courtrooms.

Like many Indiana cities, Jeffersonville in 2011 repealed any city regulations banning firearms, ammunition and firearm accessories. But somehow guns wound up on a list of items prohibited from Saturday’s event.

Kentucky officials will coordinate security efforts with more than 120 troopers from Indiana State Police and officers from Clarksville, New Albany and Jeffersonville, across the river from Louisville, Ky.

Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad still urged people not to bring firearms to the annual race. “Just because you have a right to do it in a large crowd situation doesn’t make it the right thing to do,” he said.

He also said the massive police presence made it unnecessary. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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