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WRTV Investigates explains what a 'No Weapon' policy means legally

Many are questioning the policy following Eli Dicken's shooting of the Greenwood Park Mall shooter
Posted at 6:43 PM, Jul 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-22 07:10:32-04

GREENWOOD — Following the Greenwood Park Mall shooting that left three people dead and two others injured, countless people praised the quick actions of the armed civilian, who took down the gunman within seconds.

However, some have questioned whether he was allowed to carry a gun inside the mall, which has a no-weapons policy.

WRTV Investigates has uncovered there is a possible loophole in the system.

WRTV Investigates found a sign that simply says "no weapons" doesn't deny entry into an establishment even if someone is carrying a gun. Local attorneys say it's also not considered a crime unless that person is told to get off the property.

"If the sign just says 'you can't have a gun in here' then that doesn't mean anything," Kirk Freeman said.

In some states, violating a no guns allowed sign or similar signage can lead to a criminal penalty, but not in Indiana, according to attorney Kirk Freeman.

"That's not the case. We have never had that statue we have never done things that way," Freeman said.

He said Hoosier establishments must be specific with their signs and policies.

For example, a sign saying "Mall closed: No one past this point", could result in trespassing because it denies entry.

Ignoring a sign, saying no weapons, or masks required, doesn't mean you break the law, he says, because it doesn't say anything about entry.

"If it says,' if you got a pistol on you, you can't enter into our establishment', then that can be deemed enough notice to prosecute under Indiana Criminal Trespass Statute. If you have a sign with a pistol and red slash through it, it doesn't mean anything — unless someone tells you to leave and you don't," Freeman said.

A code of conduct sign can be seen at the Greenwood Park Mall.

It says "no weapons" but according to Freeman, it's just a statement of policy.

He said since it doesn't deny entry for having a weapon, the armed citizen, Elisjsha Dicken, who shot and killed an active shooter within fifteen seconds didn't criminally violate the mall's policy.

"Until you come up and tell me you have to leave then criminal trespass is not going to be impacted," Freeman said.

WRTV has reached out to Simon Property Group regarding the mall's policies.

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