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State legislature debates bill that would repeal need for gun permits

House Bill 1369, authored by Rep. Ben Smaltz, R-52, would repeal the state law that requires people to obtain a license to carry a handgun.

INDIANAPOLIS — State lawmakers are debating a bill that would eliminate the requirement for Hoosiers to have a license to carry a handgun in the state. The bill, House Bill 1369, is authored by State Rep. Ben Smaltz, R-52.

The House Public Policy Committee heard testimony Wednesday on the bill. Supporters say requiring gun permits undermines Second Amendment protections and argue violent criminals don't obey the law.

READ: HB 1369

Several police officials spoke against the bill, saying it would make it more difficult to identify who shouldn’t possess handguns.

The bill explains a person who has been convicted of domestic battery may not possess or carry a handgun unless that right is legally restored. If someone convicted of domestic battery does possess or carry a handgun, they'll be charged with a Class A misdemeanor.

Credit: Official photo
Indiana State Rep. Ben Smaltz

Other people would be charged with a Level 5 felony if caught with a handgun. Those include:

  • People younger than 23 who were convicted as juveniles of certain violent crimes
  • People who carry a handgun on or near school property or on a school bus

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If the bill passes, Hoosiers who wish to carry a handgun in another state could legally do so by applying for an Indiana reciprocity license. Furthermore, legislators would be faced with coming up with $3.5 million a year for local police agencies — the amount police departments currently collect from permit fees for equipment and training.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.