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Senate version of gun bill would expand list of people who can't possess handguns

Brandon Smith
IPB News
The Senate's version of a bill to largely eliminate the license requirement for carrying a handgun in public differs significantly from its House counterpart.

A Senate committee heard legislation Wednesday that almost entirely eliminates the license requirement to carry a handgun in public. And it differs from a similar House bill in some key ways.

For one, SB 14 would keep in place the license requirement for Hoosiers age 18 to 20. It also significantly expands the list of people who wouldn’t be allowed to possess a handgun at all.

And those differences have some pro-gun groups opposing the measure. Will Fite is with Hoosier Gun Rights.

"The era of half measures and putting one’s name on a bill for a cheap political victory – that’s over," Fite said. "These people want their rights restored now."

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People who, under the bill, would now be barred from even having a handgun in their home includes people with records as "alcohol abusers." That means having at least two alcohol-related offenses, with at least one of them within the last three years.

It also adds people convicted of misdemeanor resisting law enforcement and those convicted of illegally carrying a handgun in public within the last five years.

Much of the testimony was about the core concept – whether Indiana should require a license to carry a handgun in public. And the comments mirrored the debate in the House earlier this session. Gun rights organizations are largely in favor of the measure, arguing that only law-abiding citizens get the licenses anyway.

But gun regulation supporters, as well as several law enforcement organizations – including the Indiana State Police – said the license system protects police and the public.

Whether the bill will get a vote in committee is undecided. Committee chair Liz Brown said the Senate Republican caucus will discuss the measure behind closed doors to determine its future.

Contact reporter Brandon at or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

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Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.