INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -
Democrats objected to a proposal approved by an Indiana Senate committee
Wednesday that would eliminate fees and make changes to the handgun
licensing process, suggesting it was the wrong time to loosen gun laws in
the wake of a Florida high school shooting.
The bill is backed
by gun rights enthusiasts who argue restrictions like licensing fees
infringe on their Second Amendment rights. But it has been significantly
watered down from an initial proposal, which would have eliminated the need
for obtaining a handgun license.
previously sailed through the House. But Democratic Sen. Tim Lanane of
Anderson said “everything has changed” since 17 people were killed at the
school in Parkland, Florida.
“You can't fault us
for looking at the perspective of these bills differently,” Lanane said
Wednesday on the Senate Judiciary Committee, adding that it is a tough time
to consider gun bills.
The bill, in its
current form, would not only eliminate fees charged for a lifetime handgun
license. It would also extend Indiana's four-year handgun license to five
That would enable
those with such a license to qualify for a federal exemption allowing them
to undergo only one background check during that period, regardless of how
many handguns they purchase - a practice more than two dozen other states
have already adopted.
Those holding a
lifetime handgun license, however, would still have to undergo background
checks for each purchase.
on Indiana's Senate Judiciary Committee said the protests following the
Florida shooting gave them pause, they opted to vote 7-3 in favor of the
"Recent events will
cause us all to do a little bit more soul searching, but keep in mind some
of the facts," said GOP Sen. Michael Delph of Carmel, adding that it was FBI
that failed people of Florida for not acting on a tip that warned about the
Indianapolis Sen. Aaron Freeman responded to school shootings by calling for
police to be stationed in every school.
groups have raised concerns about the bill because it would eliminate a
stream of funding - handgun permits - that they use for equipment and
training, including mass shooting drills for schools.
Sheriff Tim Troyer, president of the Indiana Sheriffs Association, said the
association supports the bill but needs assurance from the legislature for
pledged to backfill that money, which a legislative report projected at
nearly $11 million under a full repeal, in next year's budget. They have
also delayed the elimination of the fee until 2019.
Association of America backs the bill and its fee reduction component,
according to Chris Kopacki, who represented the association at the hearing