INDIANAPOLIS, IN – Indiana may soon be a part of the 21 states in the country that allow the carrying of a gun without a permit. House Bill 1296 was passed by the Indiana Senate by a party-line vote of 30-20 on Tuesday, March 8, which – if signed into law by Governor Eric Holcomb – will repeal the law that requires an individual to possess a license to carry a handgun in the state. The bill – known as the “Constitutional Carry” law – had previously made it through the Republican-dominated House on a vote of 68-30.
The bill will now head to the desk of Governor Holcomb, who has not indicated that he will or will not sign it; he has only promised to give the matter “careful thought” before he makes a decision. The Governor has a seven-day time limit to either sign the legislation or issue a veto; if he waits longer than seven days, the bill will automatically become law, even without his signature.
If it does indeed become law, prospective Indiana gun-owners will nonetheless still have a few hurdles to overcome before they can purchase a firearm, including a comprehensive federal background check that could disqualify individuals based on criminal histories or documented mental illness, among other reasons.
Otherwise, anyone aged 18 or older will be able to purchase and open-carry a handgun in the state of Indiana; the law, however, does not address rifles and long guns, which were already able to be carried out in the open.
There has been a great deal of opposition to the “Constitutional Carry” bill by law enforcement agencies throughout the state of Indiana, with many officers fearing for their safety; Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter was quoted as saying if lawmakers “support this bill, you will not be supporting us.”
The law will now allow individuals to carry firearms anywhere, however; private business and venue owners have the right to set and enforce their own rules regarding people carrying guns on their respective properties.