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Are Hoosiers still applying for gun permits, despite 'Constitutional Carry' law?

It's been more than a month since Indiana House Bill 1296 went into effect, allowing most people over the age of 18 to carry a handgun in public without a permit.

INDIANAPOLIS — It has been more than a month since Indiana's "Constitutional Carry" law took effect statewide.

It allowed most Hoosiers to carry a handgun without a permit.

NOTE: The video above is a previous report on the new law going into effect.

It was a law opposed by many local law enforcement leaders, including Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter.

As the law took effect on July 1, 2022, Carter encouraged Hoosiers to continue applying for permits, even if they were not required in most cases.

One month later, Indiana State Police Captain Ron Galaviz said Hoosiers are still applying.

"We knew there would be a decline, but what this still tells us is there are people out there still trusting that process and going through it," Galaviz said.

Between Jan. 1 and June 30, Indiana State Police approved close to 35,000 firearm permit applications, Galaviz said. 

That number averages out to about 5,800 permit applications per month. In July, however, that number dropped to 2,833 approved applications.

RELATED: These new Indiana laws went into effect July 1

Galaviz said despite the drop in permit applications, the process to apply has not changed. Hoosiers can start the application process online for free.

The importance of practicing responsible gun ownership has also not changed, according to Galaviz.

"You are going out and buying a machine. Understand how it works, how to clean it, how to maintain it," Galaviz said. "Do all those things, but most of all, make sure you properly and safely store it, so we are keeping it out of the hands of people that should not have them, especially children."

According to Indiana State Police, it is not uncommon for troopers to come across guns, even during routine traffic stops.

"Law enforcement, in general, here in Indiana has always come across individuals with firearms in their vehicles," Galaviz said. "More often than not, they are legal. They had valid permits and things of that nature."

When a law enforcement officer runs driver's license information, the system will show whether that person has a valid gun permit. Galaviz said that is useful information for the officer on the street.

"We've seen handguns in various places in a vehicle, so it is helpful to know right away if they had a valid permit," Galaviz said.

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

This new law, however, makes it more difficult to know who is legally allowed to carry a firearm and who is not.

"On the side of the road, we can't just type into the computer and pull up everybody's criminal history at will," Galaviz said. "That is legally protected information, so please understand that. Again, we are going to still try to work with the confines of the system and the law to see if we can make something work for those of us working on the road."

Galaviz said Indiana State Police has received many questions about the law since it took effect in July, which he said is a good thing.

"That means people are concerned, and they have valid questions," Galaviz said.

"Please don't misunderstand what this law says," he added. "There are still certain propitiators, and there are places that you cannot legally carry a firearm, unless of course you are law enforcement or there's another exception."

That list includes inside airports, aircrafts, riverboat casinos and schools.

When it comes to private properties, rules are civil and expected to be followed by those who enter the property, according to Galaviz.

"If you have any questions, talk to the management of that property," Galaviz said.

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