Indiana House passes bill supporting lawful carry
The Indiana House of Representatives recently advanced legislation to allow lawful carry in Indiana, which would allow law-abiding Hoosier adults to carry a firearm without having to first obtain a government-issued license, according to local legislators.
“As we considered this legislation, we received feedback from law enforcement and worked to address their concerns,” said State Rep. Stephen Bartels, R-Eckerty. “One of the suggestions was to establish a database that allows police to check whether someone isn’t allowed to carry a handgun. This could give officers on the front lines the critical information they requested.”
According to Bartels, Hoosiers must currently complete a firearm license application online, schedule an appointment to submit their fingerprints and then complete local law enforcement agency processing all within 180 days. He said once those steps are completed, the application is submitted to the Indiana State Police for final review. After that process, approved Hoosiers must wait for their permit or rejection notification to be sent through the mail.
State Rep. Karen Engleman, R-Georgetown, said this bill does not change the process to legally purchase a handgun, which means buyers must complete the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives form and be approved by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. She said this step helps ensure only eligible buyers legally purchase handguns.
“This legislation would remove a roadblock for lawful Hoosiers to legally carry a firearm throughout the state,” Engleman said. “However, those who want to carry across state lines would still need to obtain a reciprocity permit.”
Reciprocity permits, including five-year and lifetime permits, will still be available, and current holders of those type permits would still receive that benefit. These permits provide firearm reciprocity, or the ability for Hoosiers to carry in 31 other states. Indiana honors 48 states’ permits.
State Rep. Steve Davisson, R-Salem, said there is currently no fee for a five-year personal protection license and the fee for a lifetime personal protection license is $125. Those fees will remain in place.
Davisson said 18 states already allow law-abiding citizens to carry a handgun without a government-issued permit, including Kentucky.
“This bill would help Hoosiers who can already lawfully own a firearm protect themselves and their family,” Davisson said. “This is common-sense legislation for responsible gun owners while also increasing the penalties on those who commit gun crimes or illegally possess firearms.”
Currently, funds collected from Indiana’s handgun permits help subsidize firearms training, ammunition, range training, body armor and other expenses for local law enforcement throughout the state. Any loss in funding for departments as a result of this bill would be restored through a new appropriation in the state budget, and departments would also continue collecting funds from reciprocity permits.
The bill will enhance the penalty for theft of a firearm from a Level 6 felony to a Level 5 felony, which carries a sentence of between one to six years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
This legislation is now being considered in the Indiana Senate. Visit iga.in.gov for more information on House Bill 1369.