The repeal of Indiana’s handgun permit law, which a House committee approved in a 9-3 vote, would allow any resident age 18 or older to carry a handgun unless they have a felony conviction, face a restraining order or have a dangerous mental illness.
Supporters of the bill argue that requiring gun permits undermine Second Amendment protections and that violent criminals don’t obey the law. Similar bills allowing permitless gun carry are being pushed by Republican lawmakers in several states this year.
Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter and leaders of the state police chiefs association and Indiana Fraternal Order of Police, however, testified against the repeal last week, saying it would eliminate a valuable screening tool identifying dangerous people who shouldn’t possess handguns.
Bill sponsor Republican Rep. Ben Smaltz, of Auburn, said he had agreed to delay the repeal until March 2022 to give police departments and state agencies time to develop a system for sharing information about people prohibited from having firearms.
Those seeking handgun permits pay about $5 million a year to the state in fees, along with $3.5 million in application fees that local police and sheriff departments now collect and spend on equipment and training, according to a legislative report.
Smaltz said he expected Republican budget writers would dedicate state money so that local police agencies don’t end up losing the funding.
The full Indiana House could vote on both bills in the coming week.