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Statehouse bill would eliminate permit requirement for gun owners

Critics say the process of issuing permits to gun owners should continue.

INDIANAPOLIS — There's a debate at the Indiana Statehouse over gun rights. It's about whether to eliminate the need for a gun license.

“This is a problem that affects all of us in the state of Indiana,” said Jennifer Haan with Moms Demand Action in Indiana.

She is talking about House Bill 1077, which will allow gun owners to carry without a permit. She spoke in front of lawmakers at a hearing on Wednesday.

“My children should not have to grow up in a country where we put the price of guns above their lives,” said Haan.

After a record-breaking year of homicides in Indianapolis, Haan said this is the last thing the state needs. 

“We are in a gun violence crisis in Indiana. Removing the permitting system for firearms is only going to exasperate the crisis that we are already in,” said Haan.

Haan has a license to carry a gun and she wants to keep the current process.

“I was able to fill out the form in less time than it took to register my child for kindergarten. I went and got my fingerprints the next day. During the record surge of permitting, it only took a few weeks to come in the mail. Some of us didn’t get our Christmas presents that fast,” said Haan.

Those in support of the bill said this is all about their constitutional rights. 

“This right is a God-given natural right, not one given by the government. The government should not be your plan for self-defense. It’s your responsibility to protect yourself, your families, your loved ones as well as your neighbors,” said Hamilton County Sheriff Dennis Quakenbush.

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But Haan said without a vetting process, she can’t support the bill. 

“We will have people walking on our street never vetted by law enforcement, never receiving a background check with loaded firearms around our children,” said Haan.

If the bill gets out of committee, it goes to the House floor for approval. Ultimately, if it is signed into law, Indiana would join 21 other states which allow gun owners to carry firearms without a permit.