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Study Committee Calls for "Removing Hurdles" to Gun Ownership, Without Specifying Which

Lucas will reintroduce bill to abolish license requirement

INDIANAPOLIS - A study committee is leaving the question of abolishing gun permit requirements to the full legislature.

A final decision on so-called "constitutional carry" would be up to the full House and Senate anyway -- study committee recommendations are nonbinding. But the panel headed by Senate Judiciary Chairman Rod Bray (R-Martinsville) kept its recommendations deliberately vague, calling on legislators to "remove all hurdles" to gun ownership.

Bray says that doesn't necessarily mean getting rid of permits. He says it could instead mean scaling back a fingerprinting requirement for licenses, or abolishing the license fee. Gun owners currently pay a one-time 12-dollar application fee, plus 50 dollars for four years or 75 dollars for a lifetime license.

The recommendation passed on a party-line vote. Democrats voted no, predicting the recommendation will still be interpreted as an endorsement of abolishing permits. And Indianapolis Representative Vanessa Summers (D) says she objects to the wording on its face, arguing what the report calls "hurdles" aren't going to stop anyone who wants a license from pursuing one.

Seymour Representative Jim Lucas (R) has spearheaded the push to abolish permits, and says he'll go forward with a bill to do so, for a second straight year. He argues the license requirement forces gun owners to "prove their innocence" to exercise a constitutional right.

(Photo: Stephanie Frey/Thinkstock)

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