Indiana News

What you need to know about permitless carry in Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Starting July 1, Hoosiers who are eligible to purchase a gun in Indiana will no longer have to apply for a license to carry a firearm.

Gov. Eric Holcomb signed the bill doing away with the state’s concealed carry permit requirement on Monday.

Guy Relford, a constitutional rights attorney who focuses on the Second Amendment and state gun laws, says the move does not change the rules on who can own a gun.

“The idea is if I already have a constitutional right, why do I have to go beg the government for permission to exercise that right?” Relford said. “It doesn’t affect who can lawfully possess a gun. If you’re a criminal or a felon or (committing a) domestic (violence) matter, you couldn’t possess a gun before constitutional carry. (So) you can’t possess a gun with constitutional carry.” 

Relford says this bill is not about giving more freedom to those who do not meet the requirements to have a handgun. Instead, he says, it’s about law-abiding citizens exercising their right that is already there.

“If I want to post my opinions on social media, I don’t need to apply for a license from the government in order to go exercise my First Amendment rights,” Relford said. “I want to go to the church of my choice. I don’t have to go ask the government, ‘May I please practice as a Methodist?’”

The change means that current handgun carriers will no longer have to carry their license with them, but it does not change where a gun can be legally carried. For example, a gun is still illegal in places like schools or federal buildings.

Opponents to the measure, like Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department assistant chief Chris Bailey, say it will hinder an officer’s ability to solve crimes involving both legally and illegally possessed guns.

“We (are) tasked with going after those people that (have) legally possessed weapons that use those against our neighbors,” Bailey said. “Those investigations are going to become more complicated for officers.”

Bailey previously urged Holcomb to veto the bill. He says that officers being able to check for permits allows them to confiscate guns that are illegal, track down where else they might have been used, and take them off the street.

There are “1,300 cases pending over at the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office now from those that have illegally possessed a weapon,” Bailey said. “Each one of those weapons is a weapon that, now, we don’t have possession of that we can’t test.”

Relford says he does not think the change to permitless carry will get in the way of police work. He says part of the bill is to get rid of the time it takes to obtain a license, which he believes can often be a hinderance for people in situations of more immediate danger.

“You want to be able to protect yourself and your children,” Relford said. “But, Marion County says you can’t carry a handgun outside your home for two or three or four months by the time they finish that application process.”

Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter was another vocal opponent of the bill. Carter now says he will work with police around the state to find the best ways to identify people who are not allowed to have a gun.

Holcomb says firearm permits will still remain available, without a fee, to anyone who wants or needs one.