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Indiana Senate blocking repeal of state handgun permit law

The Republican-dominated Indiana Senate is blocking a bill that would repeal the state's permit requirement for carrying a handgun in public.

Posted: Apr 6, 2021 2:47 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Republican-dominated Indiana Senate is blocking a bill that would repeal the state's permit requirement for carrying a handgun in public.

Republicans easily pushed the proposal through the Indiana House, but Senate leaders have decided against taking up the bill in the final weeks of this year's legislative session even though it was co-sponsored by 21 GOP members of the 50-person Senate.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Liz Brown told The (Fort Wayne) Journal Gazette that the panel wouldn’t consider the bill before Thursday’s deadline for action. Instead, the Senate will support eliminating the $75 fee for a lifetime permit after the Legislature eliminated the state’s five-year permit fee in a 2019 bill.

Rep. Ben Smaltz, an Auburn Republican who is the lead sponsor of this year's bill, argued that criminals don’t obey the permitting law and that it undermines Second Amendment protections by forcing law-abiding citizens to obtain the permits. The bill would allow anyone age 18 or older to carry a handgun except for reasons such as having a felony conviction, facing a restraining order from a court or having a dangerous mental illness.

Smaltz said many people have waited months for a permit because of a backlog in getting fingerprints and background checks.

“Why not give the lawful good guy a break for once?” Smaltz said.

Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray pointed to opposition from the Indiana State Police superintendent, the state police chiefs association and the Indiana Fraternal Order of Police.

Bray said he shared the concerns of those groups over the bill’s requirement that the state create a database so that police officers could immediately know if they are encountering people prohibited from having firearms.

“These groups have said that, due to a variety of reasons including the current state of technology and federal laws governing the use of and access to information, creation of such a database is not possible at this time,” Bray said. “Law enforcement believes being able to access this information in the middle of the night during a traffic stop is important and thus, so do I.”

Supporters say 19 states currently don’t require handgun permits. Similar bills allowing permitless gun carry have been pushed by Republican lawmakers in several states this year.

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Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 709455

Reported Deaths: 13234
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion967001722
Lake51824946
Allen39279673
Hamilton34580406
St. Joseph34207541
Elkhart27376432
Vanderburgh22091394
Tippecanoe21886212
Porter17952299
Johnson17556374
Hendricks16837310
Clark12705190
Madison12358337
Vigo12226244
Monroe11484166
LaPorte11175204
Delaware10374184
Howard9677211
Kosciusko9152114
Hancock8000139
Bartholomew7896155
Warrick7698155
Floyd7567176
Wayne6910198
Grant6852171
Boone6562100
Morgan6404138
Dubois6086117
Marshall5792109
Dearborn570776
Cass5689102
Henry5582101
Noble542683
Jackson493970
Shelby479895
Lawrence4347118
Gibson429089
Harrison428970
Clinton420253
Montgomery418386
DeKalb412184
Whitley381439
Huntington380180
Miami373265
Knox367089
Steuben366657
Putnam353360
Jasper351346
Wabash347878
Adams338153
Ripley334968
Jefferson313280
White308554
Daviess289699
Wells286681
Decatur279192
Fayette277362
Greene270785
Posey269133
Scott261553
LaGrange254270
Clay253545
Randolph235880
Washington231131
Spencer228031
Jennings225147
Fountain208945
Sullivan207942
Starke205452
Owen192656
Fulton192140
Jay186429
Carroll186120
Perry181036
Orange178053
Rush170824
Vermillion166143
Franklin165635
Tipton161043
Parke144616
Blackford133931
Pike130334
Pulaski114045
Newton104234
Brown100740
Crawford97914
Benton97113
Martin82915
Warren80115
Switzerland7698
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Ohio56011
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