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House Committee Debates Bill To Eliminate Indiana Handgun Licenses

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Lauren Chapman
/
IPB News

Indiana law enforcement groups are on both sides of a debate over legislation that would no longer require Hoosiers to get a handgun license.

The process to get a handgun license typically takes just a few days. Hoosiers must complete an application, get fingerprinted and visit their local police agency.

During that, law enforcement completes a thorough background check. They look for, among other things, whether the person has a domestic violence conviction, any record of abusing drugs or alcohol and whether they've been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility.

The process has taken much longer during the COVID-19 pandemic, as much as a few months.

READ MORE: How Do I Follow Indiana's Legislative Session? Here's Your Guide To Demystify The Process

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Yet Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter said the burden of waiting to legally carry a handgun in public is outweighed by the importance of those licenses to police.

“Your kids and mine, in your communities – please don’t put them in jeopardy,” Carter said.

Carter said frontline police don't have any other way to check whether a person is lawfully allowed to carry a handgun without the licensing system.

But Hamilton County Sheriff Dennis Quakenbush said nothing should get in the way of individual citizens defending themselves.

“The government should not be your plan A for protection or self-defense," Quakenbush said. "The government is not our savior.”

A House committee took testimony but did not vote on the bill Wednesday. The deadline for it to do so is next Tuesday.

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

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.