Last Monday, the Indiana House of Representatives voted to remove the need for permits to carry handguns in the state. The bill passed the House by a 65-31 vote and will now head to the Senate for voting.
House Bill 1369 is known as s constitutional carry. Also, it goes by other names such as permitless carry, unrestricted carry, or Vermont carry. The law refers to the legal and open or concealed carrying of a handgun without the need for a license or permit. “This bill is for the lawful citizen in the state of Indiana,” according to the bill’s author, Republican Representative Ben Smaltz. “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,” he added.
Many local Hoosier gun owners supported the bill. “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.
Current Handgun Laws
The current Indiana law requires handgun owners to follow certain requirements. Applicants must be 18 years of age or older and should register online. In addition, the law requires the submission of fingerprint scans. Typical local law enforcement agency processing will take around 180 days to complete. Out of the approximately 120,000 handgun license applicants in 2020, with a 96% approval rate. Currently, Indiana has over a million active licenses.
Supporters of HB 1369 say that citizens don’t need to pay for the right to exercise their Second Amendment rights. Also, the bill prohibits certain individuals from knowingly carrying a handgun. Otherwise, they face a Class A misdemeanor. In addition, the bill creates the crime of unlawful carrying a handgun. HB 1369 will also require state police and the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to develop a process to help identify those not qualified from permits to carry handguns.
Opposition to Handgun Laws
Meanwhile, people against HB 1369 say that it makes citizens and police officers less safe. In addition, there’s the matter of funding. Current licenses will expire by March 2022. In addition, funding for the training of law enforcement officers usually comes from the proceeds of these licenses, which generates around $5.3 million a year. Consequently, all Indiana taxpayers, and not just the gun owners, will now pay for the same training. Meanwhile, Democrat Representative Mitch Gore, a captain with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, said he finds the measure concerning. “This will cause less peace … Our people will be less safe,” said Gore.
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Police Officers Chime In
Some Indiana police officers also voiced their concern over the bill, including Indiana State Police Superintendent Douglas Carter. He said the burden of identifying lawful carriers would shift from gun owners to police officers. Also, Lafayette Police Chief Patrick Flannelly and the Indiana Association of Chiefs of Police objected to the measure. “I think we are all very strong supporters of the second amendment,” Flannelly said. “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,” he added. In addition, Flannelly said that Lafayette rejected 55 people from securing carry permits last year after a background check.
Watch the Fox 55 Fort Wayne News reporting that Indiana House Bill 1369 can make it easier for Hoosiers to carry a handgun:
Does Your State Allow Constitutional Carry?
With regard to the Second Amendment, do you agree that permits to carry handguns are redundant? Does your state allow constitutional carry? Let us know what you think and share your thoughts about the right to bear arms. Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.