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Indianapolis gun shop owner reacts to controversial bill eliminating gun permit

A bill that will allow gun owners to carry without a permit is headed to the governor's desk.

INDIANAPOLIS — A bill that will allow Indiana gun owners to carry without a permit is headed to the governor's desk, but not without its share of controversy.

Greg Burge is a retired Indianapolis police officer and owner of Beech Grove Firearms.

He's for the "constitutional carry" bill that would allow persons 18 or older to carry a handgun in public without a permit. 

"I believe in the Constitution," Burge said. "I have a real problem having to pay for what is my constitutional right, so that's probably my single biggest reason of why I'm in support of it."

He said a permit doesn't sign off on whether someone should carry a gun. 

"All the state cared was that your check cleared," Burge said.

"It's just so frustrating to me," Jennifer Haan said. "It's about basic common sense."

RELATED: Indiana legislators pass bill repealing permit requirement to carry handgun in public

Haan is a volunteer leader with Moms Demand Action

"We believe in the Second Amendment, but we believe with rights come responsibilities, and one of those responsibilities is that we vetted people who are carrying handguns in public," Haan said.

The mother of two argues there would no longer be a vetting process.

The bill legislators passed Tuesday does not apply to those convicted of a felony, facing a restraining order or having a dangerous mental illness.

"We are in a gun violence crisis in the state of Indiana," Haan said. "We just had two teenagers shot on the east side who lost their lives."

Haan calls it a loophole. 

Under federal law, the minimum age to buy a handgun from a licensed dealer is 21. Customers go through a background check. 

"So the only way for 18- to 20-year-olds to obtain handguns is through gifting or through private sales, things where background checks aren't performed, and this licensure system was the backstop. It was the background check to make sure we were vetting 18- to 20-year-olds," Haan said.

RELATED: ISP superintendent blasts GOP on 'Constitutional Carry' bill

"I've never experienced a criminal, whether he be 18 or 49, that says, 'I can't commit that crime because I don't have a gun permit,'" said Burge.

If the governor signs the bill, Burge said Indiana would join about two dozen other states. 

"Your opinion may differ than mine. I respect that, I just disagree with it," Burge said.

Once the bill reaches the governor's desk, he has a week to sign or veto it.

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