And the follow up:
After fatal police shooting, review urged of gun-return law
A police official who was forced by state law to return a cache of guns to a schizophrenic man five months before his Wednesday shooting spree left his mother and a patrolman dead wants state lawmakers to rewrite the law.
Jill Clouse, acting legal adviser to Police Chief Jerry Barker, said the law should not have forced her to return seized weapons to 33-year-old Kenneth Anderson.
"Because the law required it, I had to adhere to that requirement," she said. "I have no discretion — the law dictates my action."
Authorities suspect that Anderson used at least one of the returned guns — an SKS assault-type rifle — to kill his mother and Patrolman Timothy Laird, 31. Four other officers also were wounded.
The firearms were confiscated in January from the home Anderson shared with his brother by officers responding to a report of a combative person.
Officers placed Anderson under immediate detention at an Indianapolis hospital, court records show. While family members say Anderson was diagnosed with schizophrenia, he was not arrested, charged with a crime or involuntarily committed for a mental health evaluation.
Clouse said state and federal law require police to release firearms to an owner unless they meet one or more criteria, such as being a convicted drug abuser or felon or having been deemed mentally unstable by a court.
Because Anderson had no such marks on his record, Clouse said she could not prevent him from reclaiming his guns in March.
She and Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson both want legislators to review state laws in an effort to help prevent similar incidents.
Clouse said the law could be changed to give police some discretion, or to allow a judge to order weapons withheld when officers believe "there's a reason to hold them."
Peterson has asked city legal and public safety officials to investigate whether procedures were followed in returning the guns, and if so, whether changes were needed in state law.
"There's something wrong with the law that says you have to give those back when he turns around and does exactly what you were afraid he was going to do," he said.
Rep. Vernon G. Smith, who supports regulations to prohibit assault-type weapons, said a study committee should look into the issue. But Smith, D-Gary, thinks any legal change stands little chance in the General Assembly.
State Sen. Robert Meeks, a retired state trooper and advocate for gun-owner rights, worries that any emotional response to the tragedy might prevent some people from having guns.
"I'm worried about some type of blanket change that could strip some people of their constitutional rights," said Meeks, R-LaGrange.
Information from: The Indianapolis Star