-- Gun rights advocates view the upcoming legislative session as their best
bet to get rid of an Indiana law that requires a license to carry handguns.
legislation didn’t advance during the 2016 session, but supporters believe
this time could be different after sweeping Republican wins on Election Day
and the appointment of Republican state Rep. Ben Smaltz to the House Public
Policy Committee, which acts as a gatekeeper on such bills.
Smaltz has been a
staunch advocate of gun rights.
Rep. Jim Lucas plans to file the bill when lawmakers convene in January.
He and other
advocates of the bill, including the National Rifle Association, see
licensing requirements and fees as unnecessary impediments to the
constitutional right to keep and bear arms.
Critics of the
measure have said it is unnecessary and could have unintended consequences
for public safety and the police.
Democrat St. Joseph
County Prosecutor Ken Cotter said if people were not required to have a
license to carry a handgun then police would lose a way to quickly obtain
information about a person discovered with a concealed weapon during an
officers may legally ask a person found with a weapon to produce a permit.
In agreement was Republican LaPorte County Sheriff John Boyd, who said a
valid handgun license also shows a police officer that a person does not
have a felony, conviction, history of violence, certain mental illnesses or
other factors that could signal danger
“In dealing with
the public, we’re working against the clock,” Boyd said, “and if it’s very
time-consuming, we may have to let someone go before we find out they’re the
subject of a protective order or a convicted felon.”
Indiana State Police statistics, police denied licenses to 2,044 people who
were deemed unfit to carry handguns through the first three quarters of