Indiana Is A Step Closer To Eliminating Handgun Licenses To Carry In Public

Feb 23, 2021

Legislation approved by the House would eliminate Indiana's license requirement to carry a handgun in public.
Credit Brandon Smith / IPB News

Indiana is a step closer to eliminating its license requirement to carry a handgun in public after the Indiana House passed a bill do so Monday.

Bill author Rep. Ben Smaltz (R-Auburn) said the license is nothing more than an unnecessary hurdle for people who are constitutionally allowed to carry a handgun.

“We all know what criminals do – they don’t bother with the permit process like the rest of us law-abiding citizens do,” Smaltz said.

Thousands of Hoosiers have been denied permits over the last few years.

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Some law enforcement groups – including the Indiana State Police – object to the bill. They say the permit system is the only quick way for a frontline police officer to know whether a person is authorized to carry a handgun in public.

Smaltz’s bill directs the state to create a new system for police, a list of people not allowed to carry.

Rep. Terri Austin (D-Anderson) said police tell her such a database might not even be possible.

“You can’t say, ‘I believe and trust in our men and women in blue and I will stand up for them every single time.’" Austin said. "Yet, when they come to us and say, ‘This is not a good idea,’ we totally and flagrantly disregard their concerns and their testimony.”

The bill cleared the House by a 65-31 vote and now moves to the Senate.

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