Indiana House backs dropping state’s handgun permit law

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Republicans pushed through the Indiana House on Tuesday a bill that would repeal the state’s permit requirement for carrying a handgun in public.

The proposal, which would loosen Indiana’s already lenient firearms restrictions, passed on a largely party-line 63-29 vote despite the opposition of several major law enforcement organizations. The bill would allow anyone age 18 or older to carry a handgun except for reasons such as having a felony conviction or having a dangerous mental illness.

Supporters argue the permit requirement undermines Second Amendment protections by forcing law-abiding citizens to undergo police background checks.

The bill now goes to the state Senate, where a similar proposal failed last year as Republican leaders pointed to opposition from the Indiana State Police, the state police chiefs association and the Indiana Fraternal Order of Police. A Senate committee, however, is expected to take up the issue in the coming weeks.

Rep. Mitch Gore, R-Indianapolis, a Marion County Sheriff’s Department captain, said during Tuesday’s debate that he shared the concerns of police organizations that eliminating the current permit system would strip police of a screening tool for identifying dangerous people who shouldn’t have a gun and making that information quickly accessible to officers.

“It’s a reasonable way to ensure that society is a little bit safer,” Gore said.

Indiana currently requires people to obtain a license to carry a loaded handgun outside their own homes, businesses, or cars, although people can generally carry rifles and shotguns without a permit. Twenty-one other states allow residents to carry handguns without permits, which gun rights advocates call “constitutional carry.”

Rep. Ben Smaltz, R-Auburn, the bill’s sponsor, argued that the permitting system doesn’t stop criminals from carrying guns. Smaltz acknowledged that police wouldn’t have easy access to any listing of people prohibited from possessing handguns but that people shouldn’t be presumed as criminals because they have a gun.

“I think that’s worthy of them investigating if it’s in conjunction with another crime but as far as looking at a database for somebody to know that I’m a good guy, I don’t think that’s the right way to do it,” Smaltz said.

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8 thoughts on “Indiana House backs dropping state’s handgun permit law

  1. This is a perfect example of the so-called protection of a Second Amendment right at the expense of the health and safety of our fellow Hoosiers. So I walk down the street and everyone is packing a side arm……how many are on parole or have a past that would be otherwise “flagged” on a simple background check and how many are just “good ol’ Hoosiers” who want to pack a side arm? If a background check would flag just one person who had displayed actions or past behaviors and choices that would exclude them from being able to carry a loaded handgun….then let’s do the background checks, okay?

    This bill is a perfect example of “freedoms with no responsibility” and it puts innocent Hoosiers at risk.

    1. I would say-someone ‘on parole’ would be not eligible to carry a firearm period because anyone on parole has had a felony. Also, as someone who has not been arrested or in trouble with the law, trying to get your gun permit to carry is very time consuming and not at all easy. In my county you have to pay two different places in money order only two different fees, then drive to yet another location to be fingerprinted (which seems unnecessary) given I am a law abiding citizen. However, I can carry a shotgun or rifle legally without any permit whatsoever. Last time I read most larger scale shootings happen with rifles or shotguns. Just my two cents.

  2. We should not be delusional and think that criminals are not packing side arms already. However, I do NOT believe this is a good idea. What would be a better idea would be to work on the efficiency of the gun permit system. I just went through it in 2020 and it was very cumbersome as are most things run by government.

  3. Does anyone expect anything less from our hillbilly representatives? I’m a Republican by the way so no knee jerk responses that I must be a liberal…

  4. How does one know at the precise moment, when a trigger is pulled that every “law abiding citizen” still has their sanity? Think about it! Even law enforcement doesn’t maintain sanity a a given moment… look at what happened to Rodney King in LA, Breonna Taylor In Louisville, and George Floyd in Minneapolis

  5. Read the Ammendment.

    You have the right to bear arms. If doing a background check (so we have an idea they can function within society or they have a criminal history or history of mental illness we may want to ask a couple clarifying questions.

    2nd amendment:

    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

    It’s a well regulated Militia first. I highly doubt our fore fathers thought this meant all can have guns and we don’t care who, what etc.

    But if those reading this article and disagreeing, that’s ok.

    I own guns, my brother does, my dad does, we shoot, we hunt, we own assault rifles too. But none of us have criminal records nor have been institutionalized for mental health.

    I guess as a country more people have to get shot and killed by lawful and unlawful guns.

    If we eliminate the permit. Let’s go open carry so we know who’s packing.

    Good luck.

    Last thing, how do you about the NRA now that their leadership has been busted embezzling money. THEY STOLE YOUR MONEY under false pretenses, we quit.

  6. As a gun owner and an individual that has a concealed carry permit this doesn’t pass the smell test. The handgun permit process is cumbersome with fees, fingerprints, amount of time, etc. but I’m guessing this prohibits just anyone from carrying and most criminals aren’t the ones going through this process. I don’t want untrained, gun toting idiots when I go out and neither does law enforcement. Hopefully the Senate votes against this again.