Bartels votes in favor of bill supporting lawful gun owners

Posted by: Jordan Wallace  | Friday, March 5, 2021

STATEHOUSE (March 5, 2021) – The Indiana House of Representatives recently advanced legislation to allow lawful carry in Indiana, which would allow law-abiding Hoosier adults to carry a firearm without having to first obtain a government-issued license, according to State Rep. Stephen Bartels (R-Eckerty).

"As we considered this legislation, we received feedback from law enforcement and worked to address their concerns," Bartels said. "One of the suggestions was to establish a database that allows police to check whether someone isn't allowed to carry a handgun. This could give officers on the front lines the critical information they requested."

According to Bartels, Hoosiers must currently complete a firearm license application online, schedule an appointment to submit their fingerprints and then complete local law enforcement agency processing all within 180 days. He said once those steps are completed, the application is submitted to the Indiana State Police for final review. After that process, approved Hoosiers must wait for their permit or rejection notification to be sent through the mail.

This bill does not change the process to legally purchase a handgun, which means buyers must complete the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives form, and be approved by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Bartels said this step helps ensure only eligible buyers legally purchase handguns.

"This legislation strengthens our Second Amendment rights and gives law abiding citizens the ability to protect themselves and their loved ones," Bartels said. "Individuals would only be able to lawfully carry in Indiana without a permit, and would still need a reciprocity permit in order to carry in other states."

Reciprocity permits, including 5-year and lifetime permits, will still be available, and current holders of those type permits would still receive that benefit.  These permits provide firearm reciprocity, or the ability for Hoosiers to carry in 31 other states. Indiana honors 48 states' permits. Bartels said there is currently no fee for a five-year personal protection license and the fee for a lifetime personal protection license is $125. Those fees will remain in place.

Bartels said 18 states already allow law-abiding citizens to carry a handgun without a government-issued permit, including Kentucky.

Currently, funds collected from Indiana's handgun permits help subsidize firearms training, ammunition, range training, body armor and other expenses for local law enforcement across the state. Bartels said any loss in funding for departments as a result of this bill would be restored through a new appropriation in the state budget, and departments would also continue collecting funds from reciprocity permits.

The bill will enhance the penalty for theft of a firearm from a Level 6 felony to a Level 5 felony, which carries a sentence of between 1 to 6 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

This legislation now moves to the Indiana Senate for further consideration. Visit iga.in.gov for more information on House Bill 1369.

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State Rep. Stephen Bartels (R-Eckerty) represents House District 74,
which includes portions of Spencer, Dubois, Perry, Crawford and Orange counties.
Click 
here to download a high-resolution photo.