House passes Smaltz's bill supporting lawful gun owners

House passes Smaltz's bill supporting lawful gun owners

Posted by: Jake Thompson  | Tuesday, February 23, 2021

STATEHOUSE (Feb. 23, 2021) – The Indiana House of Representatives advanced legislation authored by State Rep. Ben Smaltz (R-Auburn) 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.

“The concept of lawful carry, already in place in 16 states, simply allows a legally eligible citizen to legally carry a firearm, without a permit, as allowed by the Second Amendment," Smaltz said. "We know criminals are not waiting for a permit to carry a weapon, so why should law-abiding Hoosiers face road blocks preventing them from defending themselves or a loved one?"

According to Smaltz, 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. Smaltz said this step helps ensure only eligible buyers legally purchase handguns.

 "Time is the most valuable factor when a person decides to defend themselves," Smaltz said. "This legislation would literally put that defense in their hands the moment their NICS application is approved. Law-abiding Hoosiers can walk out of that transaction and lawfully carry that firearm."

 According to Smaltz, 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. Smaltz 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. 

Smaltz 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. Smaltz 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. Ben Smaltz (R-Auburn) represents House District 52, which

includes all of DeKalb County, and portions of Steuben and Allen counties.

Click here to download a high-resolution photo.

CAPTION: State Rep. Ben Smaltz (R-Auburn) presents to the Indiana House of Representatives his legislation that would allow law-abiding Hoosier adults to carry a firearm without having to first obtain a government-issued license Monday, Feb. 22, 2021 in the Indiana Government Center South in Indianapolis. The bill passed out of the House and can now be considered by the Indiana Senate.