An Indiana bill that could wipe out the state’s handgun permit law reached the state Senate on Tuesday after House approval.
The resolution passed in a 63–29 vote, with a Republican majority pushing the bill. However, the bill has been opposed by several major law enforcement organizations.
Lafayette Police Chief Patrick Flannelli, who represents the Indiana Association of Chiefs of Police, told the House committee, “Should this bill pass, our officers will have no means of knowing whether someone is legally carrying a handgun.” Is.” The Associated Press,
“The licensing process serves as a screening mechanism for law enforcement to keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them,” Flannelli said, Indianapolis Star Reported. “I don’t understand why we want to remove one of law enforcement’s most effective tools for preventing avoidable, gun-related incidents in our communities.”
The bill would allow anyone 18 years of age or older to carry a handgun, except those who have a felony or a dangerous mental illness.
Proponents say the state’s current permit requirements force law-abiding citizens to undergo police background checks, undermining protections in the Second Amendment.
“Today’s conversation is about a constitutional right,” said attorney Guy Railford, an influential Second Amendment advocate in Indiana. Indianapolis Star, “If you already have that right, you shouldn’t beg the government for permission to exercise that right.”
A similar proposal was unsuccessful in the state Senate last year, with Republican leaders drawing attention to opposition from the Indiana Fraternal Order of Police, the Indiana State Police and the Union of State Police Chiefs. A Senate committee is expected to address the issues in the coming weeks.
Indianapolis Democratic Representative Mitch Gore, captain of the Marion County Sheriff’s Department, said during Tuesday’s debate that he shared the concerns of police organizations that eliminating the current permit system would prevent police from needing a screening tool to identify dangerous people. would be taken away from those who should not have guns and making that information quickly accessible to officers.
“It’s a fair way to make sure society is a little bit safer,” Gore said.
Indiana currently requires people to be licensed to carry loaded handguns outside of their homes, businesses or cars, although people can generally carry rifles and shotguns without a permit. Twenty-one other states allow residents to carry handguns without a permit, which gun rights advocates call “constitutional carry.”
Republican Representative Ben Smaltz of Auburn, the bill’s sponsor, argued that the permission system does not prevent criminals from carrying guns. Smaltz acknowledged that the police would not have easy access to any list of people banned from possessing a weapon, but that people should not be treated as criminals just because they have guns.
“I think it’s worth investigating whether it’s in conjunction with some other crime, but as far as looking at the database for someone who knows I’m a good guy, I don’t think it’s That’s the right way to do it,” Smaltz said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.