Despite objections from the State Police, the Indiana House on Monday voted to eliminate the license to carry a handgun in Indiana.
House Bill 1369 passed the House by a 65-31 vote and now heads to the Senate, where it already has picked up key endorsements. Under the legislation, sometimes called “constitutional carry,” certain offenders still could be prohibited from carrying handguns.
In the United States, the term constitutional carry, also called permitless carry, unrestricted carry, refers to the legal carrying of a handgun, either openly or concealed, without a license or permit. There are 18 states that have some form of constitutional carry laws.
The bill would eliminate the license in March of next year.
Advocates say law-abiding citizens should not have to pay for a right guaranteed to them by the Constitution, but opponents worry the bill would make police officers and the general public less safe.
“This bill is for the lawful citizen in the state of Indiana,” said bill author Rep. Ben Smaltz, R-Auburn. “This bill is for the person who obeys our laws who right now has to jump over the hurdles to be the person that gets the permit.”
Rep. Terri Austin, D-Anderson, argued that there are plenty of constitutional rights Hoosiers don’t automatically get to practice, including voting, which requires citizens to register.
“Why should the Second Amendment be any different than the 15th?” Austin asked.
The licenses currently raise $5.3 million per year to train law enforcement officers, a tab that taxpayers would at least partially have to pick up should the bill pass.