APIndiana News

Indiana Lawmakers Approve Repealing Gun Permit Requirement

(Photo Supplied/Indiana News Service)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Republican lawmakers pushed through a bill that would repeal Indiana’s requirement for a permit to carry a handgun in public on Tuesday, further loosening the state’s firearms laws despite public opposition from the state police superintendent and some major law enforcement organizations.

The House and Senate approved the repeal as Republican lawmakers revived it last week after conflict among GOP senators had temporarily sidelined the issue.

Senators approved the bill 30—20 after House members earlier voted 68-30 largely along party lines in what was among the final issues taken up as the Republican-dominated Legislature neared adjournment of this year’s session.

Once the measure arrives at Gov. Eric Holcomb’s desk, he will have seven days to sign or veto it — or it would then become law without his signature.

The Republican governor hasn’t said whether he supports the concept of not requiring handgun permits, saying last week he would give the bill “careful thought.”

The bill’s provisions would allow anyone age 18 or older to carry a handgun in public except for reasons such as having a felony conviction, facing a restraining order from a court 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 that can take weeks.

Bill sponsor Rep. Ben Smaltz, a Republican from Auburn, said it was meant for the “lawful Hoosier” who hasn’t done anything wrong and don’t want to be fingerprinted to obtain a handgun permit.

Sen. Eric Koch, a Republican from Bedford who presented the bill in the Senate, said he considered the law enforcement community to be “divided on this issue.” He also maintained that obtaining a handgun permit will still be optional, and said he thinks that “most Hoosiers” will still follow that process.

“Criminals already carry firearms without regard for the law,” Koch said. “Lawful carry simply puts the law-abiding on equal footing.”

The repeal proposal easily passed the House in January but faced more skepticism in the Senate, where it stalled last month.

State Police Superintendent Doug Carter, joined by the state’s Fraternal Order of Police, police chiefs association and county prosecutors association, strongly objected the proposal. They maintained the permit repeal would strip officers of a screening tool for quickly identifying dangerous people they encounter who shouldn’t have guns.

Carter, an appointee of Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb, sharply criticized GOP lawmakers during a state Senate hearing on the bill, blaming “political posturing” for their pushing of the repeal, saying that if lawmakers “support this bill, you will not be supporting us.”

Carter, wearing his state police uniform, stood in the back of the Senate chamber as the bill was being debated. He told The Associated Press Tuesday that approval of the measure “does not support law enforcement — period.” He added that lawmakers’ comments on the Senate floor in support of the proposal were “disingenuous.”

“I don’t think (lawmakers) understand the magnitude of this,” Carter said. “I tried to explain it … this adds a layer of danger to every police officer.”

Nine Republicans joined all 11 Democratic senators in voting against the bill. Those GOP senators were Eric Bassler of Washington; Vanetta Becker of Evansville; Liz Brown of Fort Wayne; Ed Charbonneau of Valparaiso; Michael Crider of Greenfield; Sue Glick of LaGrange; Chip Perfect of Lawrenceburg; Greg Walker of Columbus; and Kyle Walker of Indianapolis.

In response to complaints that obtaining a handgun permit in Indiana takes too long, Brown suggested Tuesday that lawmakers instead try to “fix that process.”

Glick added that “police officers have our respect, but they should have our protection,” before she voted against the bill.

Indiana currently requires people to obtain a license to carry a loaded handgun outside their own homes, businesses and 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,” in reference to the Second Amendment.

Democratic House Leader Phil GiaQuinta of Fort Wayne argued that legislators should keep the handgun permit requirement in place as a sign of supporting law enforcement “to make their job safer, to make us safer.”

Democrats in the Senate further criticized the repeal, calling it “dangerous” and “a bad judgment call.”

“It hurts to see us advancing a piece of legislation that supports spreading and allowing more guns to be on our streets when violent crime is going up in our nation,” said Democratic Sen. Fady Qaddoura of Indianapolis. “This will make it much easier for people to get access to guns that kill other people.”

The National Rifle Association’s Indiana director John Weber said in a statement Tuesday that the organization was “pleased” by the bill’s passage and called for the governor to make it law.

“Hoosiers value their Second Amendment rights, yet under the current regime they are forced to ask the government for extra permission in order to exercise the fundamental right of carrying a firearm for self-defense,” Weber said. “This bill simply codifies the fundamental right of all people to defend themselves wherever a self-defense situation may arise.””

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Mikey March 9, 2022 at 7:44 am

Bravo ! Now we’ll see if Holcomb signs it or if he commits political suicide by NOT signing it !

Steve Carson March 9, 2022 at 9:08 am

Where in the bill of rights does it say, **All rights are null and void if they inconvenience law enforcement**? Just curious if they still have to read the document before they take an oath to defend it?

Slacker06 March 9, 2022 at 10:26 am

The way this article portrays Constitutional Carry is bogus. There should have never been such restrictions on law-abiding people trying to exercise as Guaranteed civil right. The police organizations including the Indiana State Police Super claimed the licenses are used to discriminate. Yet the CRIMINALS all carry their weapons illegally. They most likely obtained them illegally. The bill does not remove the National Instant Background Check System when buying a gun at retail. Other articles failed to point out that many local law enforcement officers spoke in favor of the bill. Only the high command and unions were against it.

From the 2nd Paragraph of the Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –”

“Governments are instituted among men to secure these rights.” IF you are in government, your first sacred duty in all you do is to SECURE RIGHTS!!! Mr. Carter is WRONG!. The Police Unions are WRONG!!. Senator Liz Brown is WRONG!! Twenty-one and counting states have passed Constitutional Carry. NONE of the horrors portrayed in the hearing have happened in those states just because Constitutional carry is passed. Criminals are carrying right now. This bill will not make it any easier for them. It makes it easier for the LAW_ABIDING to defend themselves when the police will not. I’m more interest in knowing how those against this bill will solve the violent crime problem that goes on even with the firearms license scheme in place. These people seem to conflate the LAW-ABIDING CITIZEN wishing to practice his civil rights with CRIMINALS just because both cohorts may carry firearms. There are many stories about police draw their firearms on license holders. Some have been killed by those officers. So the argument that the firearms license is vital to police operations is suspect in the extreme.

Dopey Prince Eric the Idiot of Brandon-land would be wise to sign the bill. OR if he cannot stomach that let it go into law without his signature. Voters will be watching very closely. How would a veto secure guaranteed rights?

Steve Carson March 9, 2022 at 11:26 am

Its only a threat to their revenue stream! They have to keep up financially with the the demands that their unions extorted from us taxpayers somehow.

Seriously March 9, 2022 at 11:35 am

“They maintained the permit repeal would strip officers of a screening tool for quickly identifying dangerous people they encounter who shouldn’t have guns.”

This is plain ignorant. If they encounter someone dangerous but have time to ask for a little pink card and then verify it wasn’t a Kinko’s special, then they have time to call in someone’s ID.

Slacker06 March 10, 2022 at 9:03 am

Watch any video of a typical traffic stop. The officer places himself well outside any ability of the driver to shoot him and always has his hand on his firearm to gain a couple of nanoseconds if he has to defend himself. Most officers have a 6th spidey sense when it comes to the bad guys. And they assume everyone is a bad guy until proven they are not a threat. Before getting out of their vehicle they have already run the license plate so they have an idea who they are dealing with. And many bad guys are well know to the officers because they have been in trouble many time in their past. If Dopey Prince Eric vetoes this bill or lets it go into effect without signature we will know he does not intend to fulfill his sacred oath of office and is there fore ineligible for any other office. I deemed him ineligible for the last election. But not enough of us were thinking that way over his Covid schemes.

Slacker06 March 10, 2022 at 9:05 am

Besides, With the price of gas there won’t be very much traffic to stop pretty soon.


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