Indiana lawmakers approve repeal of firearms license requirement | National/International

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Republican lawmakers pushed through a bill on Tuesday that would repeal Indiana’s requirement for a license to carry a handgun in public, further relaxing the state’s gun laws. despite public opposition from the superintendent of state police and some major law enforcement organizations.

The House and Senate approved the repeal as Republican lawmakers revived it last week after the dispute among GOP senators temporarily sidelined the issue.

Senators approved the bill 30 to 20 after House members earlier voted 68 to 30 largely along party lines in what was among the last issues discussed as the legislature dominated by the Republicans were approaching the adjournment of this year’s session.

Once the measure reaches Gov. Eric Holcomb’s office, he will have seven days to sign or veto it — or it would then become law without his signature.

The Republican governor hasn’t said whether he supports the concept of not requiring handgun licenses, saying last week he would give the bill “thorough thought.”

The bill’s provisions would allow anyone 18 or older to carry a handgun in public, except for reasons such as a felony conviction, facing a court restraining order, or have a dangerous mental illness. Proponents argue that the permit requirement undermines Second Amendment protections by requiring law-abiding citizens to submit to police background checks that can take weeks.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Ben Smaltz, an Auburn Republican, said it’s for the “legitimate Hoosier” who has done nothing wrong and doesn’t want his fingerprints taken to get a handgun license.

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, joined by the Fraternal Order of State Police, Association of Chiefs of Police and Association of County Attorneys, strongly opposed the proposal. They argued that repealing the license would deprive officers of a screening tool to quickly identify dangerous people they encounter who should not have firearms.

Carter, a Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb appointee, sharply criticized GOP lawmakers during a state Senate hearing on the bill, blaming ‘political posturing’ for pushing for repeal. , saying that if lawmakers “support this bill, you won’t support us.”

Carter, dressed in his state police uniform, stood in the back of the Senate chamber as the bill was debated.

Indiana currently requires people to obtain a license to carry a loaded handgun outside their homes, businesses and cars, although people can generally carry rifles and shotguns without a license. . Twenty-one other states allow residents to carry handguns without a license, which gun rights advocates call “constitutional carrying,” in reference to the Second Amendment.

Democratic House Leader Phil GiaQuinta of Fort Wayne argued that lawmakers should keep the handgun license requirement in place as a show of support for law enforcement “to make their jobs safer. , to make us safer”.

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Casey Smith is a member of the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places reporters in local newsrooms to report on underreported issues. Follow Smith on Twitter.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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