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Holcomb vetoes transgender athletes bill, OKs permitless gun carry

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Gov. Eric Holcomb on Monday vetoed Indiana lawmakers’ bill that would have barred transgender girls from joining girls’ K-12 sports teams.

The Indiana Senate had passed House Bill 1041 with a vote 32-18 while the House passed it 66-30. Indiana’s Legislature, which has a supermajority of Republicans, only needs a majority to override the veto by the Republican governor.

The veto is the second from Holcomb in 2022. On March 16, Holcomb vetoed a bill aiming to limit the ability of state agencies to adopt new regulations, saying that it included provisions that threatened about $150 million in broadband internet projects planned around the state.

Lawmakers will return to the Statehouse on May 24 for a veto session.

In addition on Monday, the governor signed a bill to do away with the state’s concealed carry permit requirement. Some police agencies, including the Indiana State Police, had opposed the measure. House Bill 1296 had passed the Senate 30-20 and the House 69-30.

The Firearms Police Coalition, a Washington, D.C. nonprofit that lobbies for gun rights, and another lobby group, the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action in Virginia, said Indiana is the 24th state to enact permitless carry legislation. Indiana neighbors Illinois, Kentucky and Michigan do not allow permitless carry.

The governor, the state police superintendent and the chair of the Indiana Democratic Party issued statements:

“The Second Amendment has been debated for years, yet time and again our U.S. Supreme Court has reaffirmed this important constitutional right that I fully support. Twenty-three other states have laws comparable to HEA 1296. Vermont has had a constitutional carry law in place since it became a state, and several other states have had a similar law for more than a decade. HEA 1296, which I’ve signed today, entrusts Hoosiers who can lawfully carry a handgun to responsibly do so within our State. It’s important to note that if a person is prohibited, under federal or state laws, from possessing a firearm before this law goes into effect, that person will still be prohibited. And if a prohibited person has a firearm, he or she can be prosecuted. Firearm permits will remain available, without fee, to anyone who wants or needs one, such as Hoosiers desiring to carry a firearm to, through or in another state that has reciprocity with Indiana.”

Gov. Eric J. Holcomb

“As Superintendent of the Indiana State Police, I have pledged my continued commitment to Governor Holcomb to work toward solutions enacting HEA 1296. I, like Governor Holcomb, feel enormous responsibility for front-line law enforcement officers. I will work with law enforcement leaders across our state to make necessary changes to firearms enforcement as well as identifying the best way to identify individuals who are not allowed to carry a firearm as defined by Indiana statute.

We will continue to encourage citizens to apply for, and maintain, a firearms permit. A permit will assist law enforcement officers and will also allow a permit holder reciprocity with other states.”

Doug Carter, superintendent of Indiana State Police

“The moment the Indiana High School Athletic Association admitted there was no unfair advantage occurring in women’s sports, it became clear House Bill 1041 was more about fulfilling a made up culture war than actually creating a better future for Hoosier children. Indiana Republicans even admitted their goal was more about abiding by national politics than solving today’s problems facing kids – and it’s why they partnered with a national hate group to pass House Bill 1041.

It’s encouraging to see Governor Eric Holcomb tell his party that their culture wars have crossed the line. Signing House Bill 1041 into law would have put the lives of our children in jeopardy. However, this unnecessary debate has set a tone with kids that being transgender means something is wrong with them. It must be said that nothing is wrong and being transgender is exactly how God created you and is exactly who you are born to be. Indiana Democrats value and will advocate for the state’s transgender community, because they have a place in our state and future just as everyone else.”

Mike Schmuhl, chairman of the Indiana Democratic Party

“The government should not mandate that law-abiding citizens get permission before exercising their fundamental, constitutional right to self defense. We thank Gov. Holcomb, bill author Rep. Ben Smaltz, legislative leaders, and every lawmaker who supported this landmark legislation.

“By signing this bill, Gov. Holcomb has demonstrated a commitment to restoring and protecting our Second Amendment freedoms.”

Jason Ouimet, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action in Fairfax, Virginia

“By signing this bill into law, Governor Holcomb has made it clear that he would rather stand with the gun lobby than support and protect the law enforcement leaders who put their lives on the line every day to protect our communities. Permitless carry will put Hoosiers in danger, and our communities will bear the toll of Governor Holcomb’s choice to ignore law enforcement’s opposition to this bill. We cannot let this attack on public safety go unanswered and must hold our leaders accountable at the ballot box. ”

Cathy Weinmann, a volunteer with the Indiana chapter of Moms Demand Action

“This victory belongs to the trans youth of Indiana, who deserve to live as their authentic selves and to play the sports they love, free from discrimination. This win wouldn’t have been possible without the thousands of Hoosiers who voiced their strong opposition to state legislators and who showed up at the Statehouse to oppose this harmful bill. Discrimination has no place in our state.”

Katie Blair, advocacy and public policy director, ACLU of Indiana

“Girls’ sports should be for girls, and allowing biological males to compete with them robs female athletes of a chance to compete and win. I’m disappointed Governor Holcomb vetoed a bill to make this law in Indiana, and I support a veto override to protect women’s athletics.”

Tweet from U.S. Sen. Mike Braun, an Indianapolis Republican