STATEHOUSE — A bill that would allow Hoosiers to carry a handgun without a license has taken a step forward in the state legislature.
An Indiana House committee voted to advance a constitutional carry bill to the full House Wednesday, after hearing in lots of testimony from several Hoosiers, organizations, and even law enforcement officers both for and against the bill.
“Our state has a gun violence problem,” said Shortridge High School student El’ad Nichols-Kaufman. “When faced with a problem like this we need to take steps and work to solve the problem. This bill would do the exact opposite, and make the situation exponentially worse.”
Under the bill, the state’s current gun licensing process would essentially be eliminated. Licenses would still be issued by the state, but the long process towards obtaining it would be done away with.
It would also allow people from outside the state who do not have an Indiana license to carry their handguns anyway.
Supporters, like Corrine Youngs with the Indiana Attorney General’s Office, said the bill brings Indiana more in line with other states and that it allows people more freedom to exercise their second amendment rights by “removing red tape” in the process of getting a gun.
“Currently there are 21 states that have permitless carry of handguns,” Kelly Myers, another supporter of the bill, said. “20 previously had licensing requirements. Zero have reinstated it.”
Supporters also believe the bill would cut down on officer-involved shootings.
Maj. Rob Simpson with Indiana State Police was among the contingent of law enforcement officers to testify against the bill. He said it would make their job harder to find people who are carrying illegally.
“There’s not a prohibitor database,” Simpson said. “There’s not a way for the individual on the side of the road because it’s not applicable to run a triple I. And that information will not be readily available.”
He also spoke on how their current system has kept thousands of people from obtaining a gun permit who shouldn’t have one.
“We have a system in place right now, wherein last two years, it has located 10,000 rejections,” he said. “Most of those, the highest reason for those rejections, was a felon applying for a permit.”
The bill will be considered on the House floor soon. A similar bill passed the Indiana House last year but stalled in the State Senate.