Police voice concerns over Indiana's new gun law
INDIANAPOLIS - Indiana's new handgun law goes into effect next week. It allows people to carry a handgun without a license under the following conditions:
- if they are on their own property
- it it's unloaded in their vehicle
- if a handgun is carried to a shooting range for an instructional course or during legal hunting
- or if the handgun is unloaded and securely wrapped.
But police have expressed concerns about the new law to Eyewitness News.
Whenever a law enforcement officer pulls someone over, they know there's a risk that someone inside the vehicle may be armed and dangerous.
Now, starting July 1st, a new gun law will allow people to carry guns inside their vehicles without a license.
"If the person just bought the weapon, they have it in a secured wrapper, it's unloaded; it's in the trunk but not in the passenger compartment - it's not an issue. There's no threat to the officer," said Sgt. Dave Bursten, Indiana State Police.
Sgt. Bursten says the gun has to be out of reach, but "out of reach' is not clearly defined in the new law.
"Maybe I have it unloaded and they have it in a secure wrapper or box but it's sitting in the passenger seat next to them. And now we get into a gray area," said Bursten.
Proponents of the law say it's designed to allow people to transport firearms to and from gun shops, gun shows and shooting ranges without having to apply for a license.
"When you apply for a permit you have to go through a background investigation. I think that's important. I don't think everybody should be carrying a gun," said George Putt, gun owner.
The new law also allows people to carry loaded firearms (without a license) on their own property or with permission on someone else's property.
"I'm not opposed to it but if they allowed people to carry guns without permits anywhere, I'd have a problem with that," said Phillip Scott, gun owner.
"The law is probably not a good idea. People should have to have a permit to carry whether it's on your property or not. Even in your car unloaded," said Jennifer Scott, gun owner.
Those opposed to the new law say they don't understand why the licensing process was taken out of the equation in certain instances, pointing out that getting a license is easy, inexpensive and serves a purpose.
"It just keeps people honest. Puts guns in the right hands instead of the wrong hands," said Jennifer Scott.
To keep a gun in your glove compartment, loaded or unloaded, you have to have a license to carry a handgun. Without that license, as of July 1st, to transport a gun in your car, it has to be unloaded, locked up and out of reach, such as in your trunk.
Gun laws change frequently, but here are some basic Indiana gun laws.
A license to carry a gun in Indiana allows you to carry it both openly and concealed.
Private businesses may restrict firearms on their properties but cannot discharge a worker for having a gun in their vehicle.
Governments may restrict firearms possession on public property.