INDIANAPOLIS – A proposal at the Statehouse aims to help law enforcement officers quickly find out whether someone shouldn’t be carrying a gun.
It comes after Republicans passed a law last year allowing Hoosiers to carry guns without a permit, which drew concerns from many law enforcement officials.
Before Indiana became a permitless carry state last year, police officers could quickly look up whether someone was allowed to carry a handgun.
“We would know based off of running their information if they had a gun permit,” explained Officer William Young of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.
But now it’s often not that simple, according to law enforcement officials, as police have to look up other disqualifying information like criminal history.
“It really takes several minutes, several steps to do that,” said Wayne County Sheriff Randy Retter.
That’s why law enforcement officials like Retter and Young say they believe a Statehouse proposal would help.
Senate Bill 136 would require the state to develop and implement an app for officers’ laptops that would allow them to quickly look up the information they need in the field.
Sheriff Retter said he believes it would increase safety for his deputies.
“It’s also going to shorten the amount of time that we need to be with an individual to make that determination,” Retter said.
State Sen. Jack Sandlin (R-Indianapolis), who supports the permitless carry law, worked with police on the bill.
“It would give them the information on convictions, for example,” Sandlin explained. “If a person has been dishonorably discharged from the military, which is a prohibitor.”
The Indiana Office of Judicial Administration estimates the app would cost the state up to $100,000 to develop.
During a committee hearing, State Sen. Liz Brown (R-Fort Wayne) voted in favor of the bill but said she worries it won’t provide officers with all the data they need.
“I know this has never been done, this accumulation of this data,” Brown said. “This was something that had been suggested officers have access to last year, they didn’t, and this does not get them all the access that they wanted.”
The bill received unanimous support in committee. It now heads to the Senate floor.
Officer Young said he believes the kind of app proposed will not only protect officers – but also the public.
“We’re able to take those persons who are prohibited from carrying firearms, number one, those firearms off the streets and be able to hold those accountable,” Young said.
The bill would require the system to be developed by 2024.