Governor vetoes trans athlete bill, signs right-to-carry gun legislation

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Eric Holcomb

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb on Monday evening signed legislation that repeals the state’s requirement for a permit to carry a handgun and vetoed a bill that would have banned transgender girls from participating in K-12 girls’ sports.

Anyone age 18 or older will be able to carry a handgun in public without a permit starting July 1 unless they are prohibited for reasons such as having a felony conviction, facing a restraining order from a court or having a dangerous mental illness.

Indiana Senators approved the bill 30-20 early this month after House members voted 68-30 largely along party lines.

Holcomb said in a written statement that he supports the constitutional right to carry firearms and noted that Indiana will join 23 other states that have similar carry laws.

“HEA 1296, which I’ve signed today, entrusts Hoosiers who can lawfully carry a handgun to responsibly do so within our State,” Holcomb said in the statement.

He also wrote that if a person is prohibited from carrying a firearm, they will still be prohibited under the new law. If someone is carrying a firearm illegally, they can be prosecuted and charged for “unlawful carry of a handgun.” Firearm permits will still remain available without a fee for anyone who wants one.

Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter, who was opposed to the measure and testified against it before the Legislature, said in a written statement that he will work with law enforcement around the state to make necessary changes to firearms enforcement and find proper ways to identify those who are prohibited from carrying handguns.

“We will continue to encourage citizens to apply for, and maintain, a firearms permit. A permit will assist law enforcement officers and will also allow a permit holder reciprocity with other states,” Carter said in the statement.

Meanwhile, Holcomb also issued his second and final veto of the legislative session. House Bill 1041 would have prohibited students who were born male but identify as female from participating in a sport or on an athletic team that is designated for women or girls.

The bill could still become law if state lawmakers, who hold Republican supermajorities in the House and Senate, override Holcomb’s veto with a simple majority vote. The legislation was passed by the Indiana Senate 32-18 and by the House 66-30.

In his veto letter to legislative leaders, Holcomb wrote that the bill “falls short” of maintaining consistency for fairness in school sports. He noted that states who have already passed similar laws are already facing or have been threatened with lawsuits. Some courts have already blocked those same laws from taking effect based on equal protection grounds.

The ACLU said it would fight the bill in court if it became law. The measure was opposed by the organization, along with many in the LGBTQ community and parents with transgender children.

Holcomb also wrote in his veto letter that he found no evidence of the problem the legislation is intended to address. He added that he was “heartened” by the work the Indiana High School Athletic Association is already doing with its existing policy to maintain fairness in sports.

“The presumption of the policy laid out in HEA 1041 is that there is an existing problem in K-12 sports in Indiana that requires further state government intervention,” Holcomb said in his letter. “It implies that the goals of consistency and fairness in competitive female sports are not currently being met. After thorough review, I find no evidence to support either claim even if I support the effort overall.”

He also wrote that the process for filing grievances was “wide open” in the bill, and he was concerned that each county and school could handle the provisions differently.

“This victory belongs to the trans youth of Indiana, who deserve to live as their authentic selves and to play the sports they love, free from discrimination,” Katie Blair, ACLU of Indiana advocacy and public policy director, said in a written statement. “This win wouldn’t have been possible without the thousands of Hoosiers who voiced their strong opposition to state legislators and who showed up at the Statehouse to oppose this harmful bill.”

Holcomb has taken action on all 177 bills sent to him by the Legislature, signing 175 and vetoing two. His other veto was against House Bill 1211, which dealt with state agency rulemaking.

Indiana lawmakers are set to return to the Statehouse on May 24 to address any technical corrections and vetoes.

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24 thoughts on “Governor vetoes trans athlete bill, signs right-to-carry gun legislation

  1. Blah, blah, blah on the transgender sexes bill. Another reason why I split my vote last November and voted Rainwater for Governor, as did a surprising number of registered Republicans. Rob Kendall might be a little goofy on many things, but I think he’s nailed RINO Holcomb accurately.

    1. Bob, Rainwater is a Libertarian. They believe the government has no place in regulating such things. Kendall is a performer telling you what keeps you tuning in.

      As noted by Holcomb, the IHSAA already has a policy in place to prevent a Lia Thomas situation in Indiana, and it’s worked to stop such a situation already. Can you even articulate the IHSAA policy as it stands?

      If the bill should have done anything, it should have enshrined that IHSAA policy into law.

    2. So, Joe B, what would have been wrong with enshrining the IHSAA policy into law? You are against doing so?

      I knew Rob Kendall long before he was ever on the radio. He is a nice enough guy but has enough goofy ideas that I wouldn’t classify him as a performer “who keeps me tuning in,” because I often go to Glen Beck on Freedom 95 in the same mid-morning time frame. It sounds like you would do well to do the same periodically.

    3. I’d have been fine with putting that into state law … if people thought there was a threat it was going away. But there wasn’t. The only reason this came up in the session was to fool sheep into voting for legislators in the next election. Indiana did not and does not have a problem with transgendered boys taking spots from biological girls in competition.

      That you still can’t articulate the IHSAA policy tells me you’re not informed enough to be commenting on this issue. Maybe less time listening to Rob Kendall and more time getting better news.

    4. Since Bob won’t help any of you out with the policy, likely because it makes him look foolish, here’s the summary version of the IHSAA policy:

      Transgendered male athletes in Indiana may play sports against females if they have the muscle mass and bone density of biological female athletes. They have to prove that before they can play.

      So, you might say, doesn’t that mean they could just undergo hormone therapy and play sports?

      Well, no. Even after hormone therapy, transgendered males retain an advantage when it comes to muscle mass and bone density. So, in the vast majority of cases, they wouldn’t be eligible. I suspect, but don’t know, that this is likely one reason why, when the first transgendered male in Indiana started the process, they bailed out and didn’t finish applying to play sports.

      The only cases in which transgendered males would only be eligible to play sports against females if they had the muscle mass and bone density of females before they started transitioning. Statistically, this is a very small number of boys.

      Again, as Holcomb said in his veto letter, this law is not needed. if you want to enshrine the IHSAA policy in law to prove your conservative bona fides, I guess that’s OK. I am very hesitant to praise the IHSAA, but on this issue, I think they got it right.

  2. So now anyone on the 18th birthday can become legally lethal without any licensing qualifying screening or training on weapon handling.. what could possibly go awry ?

    Why do we license any other activity ?

    1. Think about it … do you think that law-abiding citizens who want to defend themselves are their families and businesses are going to suffer from this law? Of course not. The thing that many people do not seem to understand is that criminals will always have access to guns and pay no attention to laws. The more armed the general population is the better as criminals are the threat and the police cannot be everywhere. That is why the argument of the police is hollow – the registration process is one thing but the right to carry is another and the public needs to be armed. If they choose not to, that is fine. Also, you can be lethal much younger than 18. You see, people like me obey the law, get trained, and respect others and I only have a firearm for protection. Criminals do not jump through hoops like law-abiding citizens do, and to disarm the public is an invitation for more crime, violence, and chaos.

    2. Charles B. – The right to bear arms is enshrined in the Constitution, whereas other activities for which a license or permit is require are mere legislative privileges. Unfortunately the pro-gun lobby and its advocates in the federal and state governments have never bothered (or simply don’t care to) to understand what the reference to a “well-regulated militia” in the 2nd Amendment. I can assure you few if any have ever read the history of the 1792 and 1795 Militia Acts, which provide the basis for regulation of guns.

    3. Joe F, there is no place here for rational, intelligent comments. It’s RINOS! Morons! Holcomb is an idiot! Try to keep up…

    4. Brent B. Where in the Indiana constitution does it say anything about a militia? “Section 32. The people shall have a right to bear arms, for the defense of themselves and the State.”

    5. Eric, it is the US Constitution’s 2nd Amendment, and the federal Militia Acts of 1792 and 1795 (Indiana wasn’t even a state yet). Please tell me that you learned in high school the federal constitution and laws are supreme, superseding any state law that may pose a conflict. Hopefully you didn’t skip school that day…

  3. So he wants a bunch of morons carrying guns nilly Willy, but doesn’t care if boys compete as girls in sports? That makes a lot of sense, Governor…

  4. We need a license to drive a car, but no permit to carry a gun. That is just plain goofy, nuts, insane, etc, etc. Governor Holcomb, what in the world are you thinking? It is bad enough that all of the second amendment crazies are too lazy to read the history of of why we have the second amendment in the first place. I would love to have a rational debate s on this subject with anyone who would bother to read all of the Federalist Papers on the the subject. Just know that there is a reason the second amendment begins with the following: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, (as in Indiana plus 49 others). It was, to enable to prevent the Federal Government from establishing a national police force. Do not take my word for this. Go back and read the history!

  5. No permit to carry a gun? This is leadership in reverse. Basically a call to all our citizens….”We can’t defend you, so defend yourself!” Or how about, “You’re in Indiana…you should be completely paranoid and live in fear…get your gun now, Annie!” Or maybe, “As Governor, I felt it necessary to deputize all Hoosiers, that way, when you go to Kroger you can be confident no one is going to steal you broccoli!” Yes, I should get up every day and make sure I don’t leave my house without checking the clock and grabbing my Glock. Because I’m a man, yes I am. Please…spare me!

    This places a new burden on law enforcement and an even greater burden on everyone and particularly our most vulnerable..the elderly who, when walking down the street can only feel less safe seeing a bunch of people THEY DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT, packing a gun. Honestly, this is just poor leadership from our Legislature right up to the Governor. SHAME!

  6. You’d think the ISP Superintendent would be taken more seriously with an issue as potentially deadly as eliminating gun permitting. I hope this doesn’t lead to more violence, either on the streets or from police in a more dangerous situation.

  7. Whia! Let’s check the facts. Gun deaths in states with constitutional carry have NOT experienced more gun deaths. Ask West Virginia which expected an increase when they passed the CC in 2016 but it didn’t happen. Do you really think the gun deaths in Indy are committed by individuals with a permit?

  8. Governor Holcomb is playing the I’m running for another office wheel of fortune.
    You pay, and you pay me and I’ll get some more over here.

    $$$$$$$$$$ Cha Ching hokey.