Indiana lawmakers bill would get rid of existing laws requiring a license to carry a gun

(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

CLINTON, Ind. (WTHI) – A new proposal aims to change gun laws in the Hoosier state. Lawmakers are gearing up for the 2017 legislative session, and gun rights advocates believe this year is their best shot to get rid of an Indiana law that requires a license to carry a handgun.

David John considers himself to be well versed on the do’s and don’ts of firearms. “After I left the service is when I started getting involved in personal protection and safe gun handling,” said John, Owner of the McDonald Lake Rod and Gun Club in Clinton.

Lately, he’s been fielding lots of questions from customers. This as Republican State Representative Jim Lucas plans to file a bill next week when lawmakers reconvene. It would make Indiana a constitutional carry state. Essentially, loosening the gun license laws for law abiding citizens.

“That is the beauty of it. They want to scrap it all and just make it a constitutional right with no financial burden, that makes sense,” said John.

State law currently requires a person to have a license in order to carry a handgun in their car or on themselves. That would change under Lucas’ bill. As a result, several Class A and Class B misdemeanors would also be eliminated.

However, John said there’s a need for checks and balances. While the proposal sounds good on paper, there’s the question of weighing gun rights with public safety. “The public is concerned about who is starting to wear those weapons without proper documentation, without any training, that’s a huge public concern.”

The legislation would make Indiana the 13th permitless carry state. John said the measure could also be a burden for gun owners who travel. “If we go to this new constitutional carry then none of these reciprocating states will allow us to carry into their states.”

The state fee for handgun licenses runs from $10 for four years to $50 for a lifetime license. A portion of the money collected from those application fees goes into the state’s general fund.

John said he’s all for saving money, but he’s worried the trade-off still comes at a price. “It needs a lot of hurdles to clear, yes it does.”

The final draft of the bill is still being prepared and will be submitted in the coming weeks so that it can receive a bill number.