On Monday, the Indiana House voted to get rid of the need to have a license in order to carry a handgun in the state of Indiana. The bill passed the House by a 65-31 vote and will now go to the Senate, where The Indy Star reports that it has already received endorsements.
The legislation is sometimes called “constitutional carry,” and supporters of the bill say that citizens should not have to pay for a right that is given to them by the Second Amendment of the Constitution. The bill would still allow for certain offenders to be denied the ability to carry handguns. People who are against the bill say that it makes citizens and police officers less safe.
March 2022, the licenses, which reportedly raise money in order to train law enforcement officers, will all expire. The Indy Star adds that taxpayers would, at that time, become at least partially responsible for funding that training.
Some police officers were not in support of the legislation, including Indiana State Police Superintendent Douglas Carter who said that it would shift the burden from those carrying firearms onto officers.
Lafayette Police Chief Patrick Flannelly with the Indiana Association of Chiefs of Police was also against the bill. Flannelly said, “I think we are all very strong supporters of the second amendment … By repealing processes like this that are good screening mechanisms, we are going to put more guns out on the street, and there are going to be people that should not be carrying them will be carrying them.”
Flannelly reportedly said that his department denied 55 people from getting carry permits last year because of their background check.
The Indy Star reports, “The bill would require state police and the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to develop a process to enable law enforcement to quickly check whether someone is prohibited from carrying a handgun.”
Rep. Mitch Gore (D-Indianapolis) is a captain with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office. On the House floor, Gore said, “This will cause less peace … Our people will be less safe.”
Other officers, however, reportedly testified in support of the measure.
The bill’s author, Republican Representative Ben Smaltz, said, “This bill is for the lawful citizen in the state of Indiana … This bill is for the person who obeys our laws who right now has to jump over the hurdles to be the person that gets the permit.”
Some local Hoosiers are in support of the legislation, as well. “Anything that can make things easier for somebody who is a law abiding citizen is always something that I think I’m going to try to support,” said Indianapolis gun owner Eric Housman, according to FOX 59 of Indianapolis.
As reported by Fox News, in order to apply right now for a new Indiana license to carry a handgun, a person must be 18 years of age or older, register online, set an appointment to get fingerprints scanned, and complete local law enforcement agency processing within 180 days.
Indiana state data shows that out of the more than 120,000 handgun license applicants in 2020, nearly 4% were denied. There are over 1 million active licenses in Indiana.