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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

789 and counting

The Tomes of Northwest Indiana reports on what it calls "some of the seemingly wackier bills" among the 789 laws proposed "so far" in this session of the General Assembly:

The Indiana of the future may be a state where the national anthem always is sung correctly, creationism is taught alongside evolution in schools, the danger of novelty lighters is extinguished forever, and you won't be able to buy a drink at a strip club but you might be able to buy a sawed-off shotgun, though probably not at a strip club.

And let's not slide right by that number the way the newspaper did -- 789 bills introduced so far, in a short session. We are so uncivilized that we nead almost 800 new laws that will be considered during 30 working days while most legislators' brain power is consumed thinking about right-to-work legislation?
This may take the prize for oddest proposal; it strikes me as stranger even than the one setting singing standards for the national anthem at schools:
House Bill 1056, sponsored by state Rep. Randy Frye, R-Greensburg, makes illegal lighters shaped like an animal, animated character, vehicle, weapon, telephone or food; or with "entertaining audio or visual effects." Non-entertaining audio or visual effects would appear to be acceptable, though Hoosiers will know for sure only by checking the banned lighter list on website of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.
If we check TSA guidelines, we find that air travelers are permitted to carry "one book of matches or one fueled lighter" on board. So why not ban fun and entertaining matches, too?


Harl Delos
Mon, 01/16/2012 - 2:17pm

Do you suppose the idea is to not encourage little kids to play with lighters and set houses on fire?

I remember, as a kid,being fascinated with those "gun" lighters that spit a flame from the end of the barrel.

They just broadcast "Adam's Rib" on cable; first time I'd seen it in about half a century, and I'd forgotten the scene where Spenser points a pistol at Katherine Hepburn and an interloper, then sticks it his own mouth instead - and instead of swallowing a bullet, bites off the barrel. Licorice, he says. Love that licorice.

Ignoring the unlikelihood that he'd have happened to have a licorice gun in his pocket, would that scene pass the "willing suspension of disbelief" test today? Realistic water pistols must, by law, have an orange tip so they aren't tragically mistaken for the real thing. Would an all-black licorice pistol be legal? Assuming, of course, that you thought someone would want to chomp on such a thick chunk of licorice? A licorice bowie knife, sure, or even a licorice machete, but not a pistol!

Leo Morris
Mon, 01/16/2012 - 5:25pm

Might be a worthy goal, but then why would Homeland Security be invoked?

Harl Delos
Tue, 01/17/2012 - 5:29am

Where would YOU place the list of banned lighters? Is IDHS where the state fire marshal belongs? http://www.in.gov/dhs/firecertification.htm