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State legislature debates bill that would repeal need for gun permits

House Bill 1369, authored by Rep. Ben Smaltz, R-52, would repeal the state law that requires people to obtain a license to carry a handgun.
Credit: TSA Photo
This handgun was detected by TSA officers in a passenger’s carry-on bag at Indianapolis International Airport (IND) on Nov. 19.

INDIANAPOLIS — State lawmakers are debating a bill that would eliminate the requirement for Hoosiers to have a license to carry a handgun in the state. The bill, House Bill 1369, is authored by State Rep. Ben Smaltz, R-52.

The House Public Policy Committee heard testimony Wednesday on the bill. Supporters say requiring gun permits undermines Second Amendment protections and argue violent criminals don't obey the law.

READ: HB 1369

Several police officials spoke against the bill, saying it would make it more difficult to identify who shouldn’t possess handguns.

The bill explains a person who has been convicted of domestic battery may not possess or carry a handgun unless that right is legally restored. If someone convicted of domestic battery does possess or carry a handgun, they'll be charged with a Class A misdemeanor.

Credit: Official photo
Indiana State Rep. Ben Smaltz

Other people would be charged with a Level 5 felony if caught with a handgun. Those include:

  • People younger than 23 who were convicted as juveniles of certain violent crimes
  • People who carry a handgun on or near school property or on a school bus

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If the bill passes, Hoosiers who wish to carry a handgun in another state could legally do so by applying for an Indiana reciprocity license. Furthermore, legislators would be faced with coming up with $3.5 million a year for local police agencies — the amount police departments currently collect from permit fees for equipment and training.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Rep. Smaltz is related to an employee of WTHR. The employee did not contribute to this report. 

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