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'Constitutional carry' gun law takes effect Friday in Indiana

This new "constitutional carry" law was opposed by many in law enforcement, but ultimately passed by the Indiana General Assembly.

INDIANAPOLIS — Starting Friday, a permit is no longer required to carry a handgun outside your home or business in Indiana. The new law affects gun owners and the way police can question someone with a gun. 

This new "constitutional carry" law was opposed by many in law enforcement, but ultimately passed by the Indiana General Assembly and signed by Gov. Eric Holcomb earlier this year. 

Hoosiers will have the right to bear arms in public without a piece of paper that says they can.

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita’s office published a "Gun Owner's Bill of Rights" to help Hoosiers understand the law.

"I want everyone to know what the laws are in the state of Indiana, what they can do, what they can't do and it's done in an easy question and answer format," Rokita told 13News.

IMPD and Indiana State Police joined forces to release a public video this week reminding people that the new law still prohibits convicted felons, juveniles and people with dangerous mental illness — among several other people — from carrying a handgun.

Anyone buying a gun from a dealer still has to go through a federal background check.

"As long as you're 18 or older and not prohibited, meaning convicted of a felony or some kind of domestic battery or any kind of the disqualifiers the state has, you now will not have to go through the tedious process of asking your government permission to actually exercise your constitutional right," said Greg Burge, owner of Beech Grove Firearms.

RELATED: State Police preparing troopers for what they can and can't ask with new gun law

Someone carrying a gun in Indiana no longer has the burden to prove they are legally allowed to do so. 

"We cannot just stop somebody on the street because they're in possession of a handgun and try to seek to prove that they're a prohibited person,” said IMPD Southwest District Commander Tonya Terry. “We have to have reasonable suspicion to stop somebody, reasonable suspicion that a crime is afoot."

With technology, Indiana State Police Sgt. John Perrine said troopers don't have to memorize every aspect of every law.

"If we're not sure whether or not someone is a proper person, we can look it up, we can call a prosecutor, we can call our legal office downtown, so we have resources available to make sure we're doing it right," Perrine said.

13News asked police if there are any benefits.

"That's a tough question because I don't know," Perrine said. "Obviously, it's new and we're going to see what works and what doesn't. So, I guess only time will tell."

"I think we're all going from the standpoint of we'll hope for the best, but we'll prepare for the worst. Then, we'll keep track of those things as it goes. What kind of new cases are we seeing? What is the trend in crime looking like?" IMPD Chief Randal Taylor said.

Taylor said many of his officers do not support this law.

His concern is the public will think anyone can carry, which is not the case.

"The goal here is to make sure the people who can legally carry don't feel like we're targeting them, but those who should not be carrying, we want them to understand that we're still going to be coming after you," Taylor said.

"I'm simply worried about those aspects of this change in the law that will make it easier for people who truly have no business to obtain weapons to be carrying them around,” Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett said.

Of the 123,033 handgun permit applications processed through state police last year, 6,075 were rejected, according to police data. In 2020, of the 149,204 permit applications, 4,556 were rejected.

RELATED: 'Constitutional Carry' laws gaining popularity in last 7 years

Indiana will still issue free lifetime handgun permits, which are recognized by some other states. Police still encourage gun owners to get their lifetime permit for no charge. Police said it's especially helpful when traveling to other states that still recognize permits. 

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita’s office published a "Gun Owner’s Bill of Rights" to help Hoosiers understand the law.

“I want everyone to know what the laws are in the state of Indiana, what they can do, what they can't do and it's done in an easy question and answer format," Rokita told 13News.

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