On Tuesday, Republican Indiana lawmakers sent a bill through that would eliminate the state’s requirement for a permit to carry a handgun, which serves to further loosen the state’s laws on firearms.
The repeal was approved in both the state House and Senate after GOP lawmakers brought it back to life last week following conflict among Republican senators that had temporarily paused the issue.
Senators approved the bill with a vote of 30-20 after a House vote of 68-30 sent the bill to the upper chamber. Both approvals took place mostly along party lines in one of the last issues taken up for the legislative session as the Republican-dominated body heads for adjournment.
Once the measure hits Gov. Eric Holcomb’s desk, he will have just seven days to either sign or veto it before it becomes law without a signature altogether.
The governor, a fellow Republican, has not yet said whether he supports the concept of not requiring handgun permits, but he noted last week that he would give the bill “careful thought.”
Under the bill’s provisions, anyone age 18 or older would be permitted to carry a handgun in public except for reasons like having a felony conviction, facing a facing a restraining order from a court, or having been diagnosed with a dangerous mental illness.
Supporters of the repeal argue that requiring licenses undermines the Second Amendment protections by forcing law-following citizens to undergo background checks that can take several weeks.
The Bill’s sponsor, Rep. Ben Smaltz, an Auburn Republican, said the repeal was meant for the “lawful Hoosier” who has not committed any wrongs and does not want to be fingerprinted in order to obtain a handgun permit.
Sen. Eric Koch, a fellow Republican of Bedford who took the bill up in the Senate, said he expected law enforcement to be “divided on the issue.”
He added that he believes “most Hoosiers” will still follow the optional process to obtain a permit. “Criminals already carry firearms without regard for the law,” he said. “Lawful carry simply puts the law-abiding on equal footing.”
ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: WASHINGTON POST