A loaded handgun found in a traveler's carry-on luggage at Fort Wayne International Airport.
(Photo provided by the TSA.)

Gun Permit Repeal Faces Rockier Path in Senate

(INDIANAPOLIS) – It’s the Senate’s turn to discuss repeal of Indiana’s gun permit requirement.

Indiana has already repealed the fee to get a permit to carry a handgun, but the House last week passed a bill to repeal the requirement entirely. Supporters argue you shouldn’t need permission to exercise a constitutional right, and contend criminals aren’t going to apply for a permit anyway.

Police and prosecutors renewed their opposition to the bill in a nearly three-hour Senate hearing. State Police Assistant Chief of Staff Rob Simpson says despite backers’ assumption that only law-abiding citizens would go through the application process, the department rejects more than 5,000 applications a year, nearly half because of a felony record.

Convicted felons would still be barred from carrying guns under both the House and Senate versions of the bill, along with the mentally ill, illegal immigrants, fugitives, and people under indictment. State Police Superintendent Doug Carter says the current process spots and weeds out criminals and the mentally ill. He says removing the permit requirement would “add a layer of danger” to officers and the community, because police would no longer have a built-in way to check whether someone is allowed to carry legally.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has until next Thursday to vote on the bill, though the panel could also wait till next month and consider the Houser version instead. Chair Liz Brown (R-Fort Wayne) says Senate Republicans will discuss how to proceed. The Senate killed a similar bill last year, and the National Association for Gun Rights says it’s operating on the assumption the it’ll do so again.

21 states have no gun permit requirement. About half of those have repealed their permit laws in the last three years.

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