Indiana Republicans reintroducing legislation to end requirement for handgun carry permits

IN Focus: Indiana Politics

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Republican lawmakers are working to reintroduce legislation that would allow many Hoosiers to carry handguns without a permit.

Several lawmakers in both the Indiana House and Senate are writing bills.

Known as “constitutional carry” or “permitless carry,” it’s a change to Indiana law some Republican legislators have been working on for years.

“It’s still to me, it’s an infringement of our constitutional rights to mandate, require somebody to jump through hoops, go get fingerprinted, pay a fee – you still have to pay to get your fingerprints done – wait God only knows how long,” said State Rep. Jim Lucas (R-Seymour), one of the lawmakers planning to introduce this type of bill.

Lucas and other advocates say the legislation protects Second Amendment rights for law-abiding Hoosiers.

It would still prevent anyone not allowed to carry a gun now from doing so, Lucas said.

“If you’re a felon, this doesn’t apply to you,” said Guy Relford, founder and CEO of The 2A Project, a gun rights organization. “If you’ve been convicted, even of a misdemeanor crime, of domestic violence, this doesn’t apply to you. If you’ve been adjudicated to be mentally ill, this doesn’t apply to you.”

Opponents argue the legislation would make Hoosiers less safe.

“Gun permits are really the lowest level of security that we have,” said Becca McCracken of the Indianapolis chapter of Be Smart for Kids. “Indiana doesn’t really require much in regards to purchasing or having guns.”

State Sen. Fady Qaddoura (D-Indianapolis) calls the idea “counterproductive” to efforts by other state lawmakers to curb gun violence.

“It’s the wrong time at a time when we’re trying to reduce crimes, violent crimes in our communities,” Qaddoura said. “I think that type of bill would take us in the opposite direction.”

A bill to end the requirement for handgun carry permits passed the Indiana House last session but did not get a committee hearing in the Senate.

According to the U.S. Concealed Carry Association, 21 states allow gun owners to carry firearms without a permit if they meet certain qualifications.

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