INDIANA – Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb signed into law a bill Monday that eliminates the need for a permit to carry guns, further relaxing the state’s gun laws despite opposition from the superintendent of police. state and other police organizations.
The Republican governor previously avoided talking about whether or not he supported the concept of not requiring firearms permits, but on Monday and signing the bill he said, “The Second Amendment has been debated for years, but over and over again. plus the Supreme Court of the United States has reaffirmed this important constitutional right which I fully support.”
“I am confident that by signing HEA1296 today, Indianans who can legally carry a gun will do so responsibly within our state boundaries,” Holcomb added.
The law will allow anyone over the age of 18 to carry a firearm in public, except for reasons such as having a felony conviction, facing a restraining order from a court, or having a dangerous mental illness.
Supporters argued that the permit requirement undermines Second Amendment protections by forcing law-abiding citizens to submit to police background checks that can take weeks.
Senators passed the bill 30-20 after House members voted 68-30 largely along party lines on what was one of the final issues discussed as the Republican-dominated Legislature neared the close of this year’s session.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Ben Smaltz, a Republican from Auburn, said it was intended for legal Indiana residents who have done nothing wrong and don’t want to be fingerprinted for a gun permit.
Sen. Eric Koch, a Republican from Bedford who introduced the bill in the Senate, said he thought the law enforcement community was “divided on this issue.” He also maintained that obtaining a firearms permit will remain optional and said he believes “most Indiana residents” will follow that process.
“Criminals already carry firearms without regard to the law,” Koch said. “Legal carry just puts the law-abiding on an equal footing,” Koch added.
The repeal proposal passed the House easily in January, but faced more skepticism in the Senate, where it stalled last month.
State Police Superintendent Doug Carter, along with the State Fraternal Order of Police, the Police Chiefs Association and the County Attorneys Association, strongly objected to the proposal. They argued that repealing the permit would strip officers of a screening tool to quickly identify dangerous people they encounter who shouldn’t have guns.
Carter, appointed by Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb, slammed Republican lawmakers during a state Senate hearing on the bill, blaming “political posturing” for pushing repeal and saying that if lawmakers “support this bill of law, they will not support us.”
For his part, on Monday and through a statement, Carter said that the state police will continue to encourage citizens to request and maintain a permit, explaining that it will help law enforcement and allow reciprocity with other states.
“I will work with law enforcement leaders across our state to make the necessary changes to gun enforcement as well as find the best way to identify people who are not allowed to carry a gun. firearm as defined by Indiana statute,” he said.
Another 21 states allow residents to carry firearms without permits, what gun rights advocates call “constitutional carry,” referring to the Second Amendment.