A bill that would repeal the requirement for a permit to carry a handgun in Indiana was considered Wednesday during a meeting of the Indiana House of Representatives Public Policy Committee. The bill will be amended and voted on by the committee Monday.
After the bill was introduced Wednesday, testimonies were given from several people both for and against the bill, including law enforcement, concerned citizens and women from Moms Demand Action.
The main argument for passing the bill was that the Second Amendment guarantees gun owners the right to carry without a permit. Those against said they feared the implications permitless handgun ownership would have on policing and whether it would lead to an increase in gun violence.
House bill 1369 is authored by Rep. Ben Smaltz, R-52nd District, co-authored by Rep. Matt Lehman, R-79th District and Rep. Timothy Wesco, R-21st District.
Indiana State Police Superintendent Douglas Carter said in his testimony that he supports the Second Amendment but was concerned about the implications of the bill. If the bill passes, he said police officers would not have the information that handgun permits provide them during routine encounters.
“The decisions that you make today and throughout this promulgation process could have devastating consequences in every one of your communities,” Carter said.
If the permits are repealed, Indiana legislators would potentially have to make up the $3.5 million a year that local police agencies would lose, according to the Associated Press.
Before the hearing, Jody Lyneé Madeira, an IU professor of law, said repealing licenses would be dangerous because data shows firearm homicide rates and firearm suicide rates could increase without permits. She said previous handgun regulations do not infringe on individual rights.
Madeira said she is concerned a lack of licensing would compromise public safety.
“I would just say, convenience is not worth lives or a decrease in public engagement,” Madeira said.
Bradley Rodgers, Elkhart county commissioner and former Elkhart sheriff, said in his testimony he favors the bill because he believes owning a gun is within a citizen’s constitutional rights and licensing is a burden for individuals attempting to get a handgun.
“We believe that an armed, responsible citizen is important to the protection of our communities,” Rodgers said.