Lucas: House passes bill supporting lawful gun owners

Posted by: Abrahm Hurt  | Wednesday, February 24, 2021

STATEHOUSE (Feb. 24, 2021) – The Indiana House of Representatives advanced legislation co-authored by State Rep. Jim Lucas (R-Seymour) supporting lawful carry in Indiana, which would allow law-abiding Hoosier adults to carry a firearm without having to first obtain a government-issued license.

"This is common-sense legislation so Hoosiers can legally carry their firearms without a permit, exercising their basic Second Amendment right," said Lucas, a member of the House Public Policy Committee. "The current state-mandated process to get a license is taking weeks if not months to complete, which is a hurdle for responsible, law-abiding gun owners."

According to Lucas, 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 and buyers still must complete the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives form, and be approved by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Lucas said this process ensures only eligible buyers legally possess handguns.

"If signed into law, this measure means the moment NICS approves your application to purchase a firearm is the moment you can protect yourself and your loved ones," Lucas said. "Criminals are not waiting around for their permits to be approved to carry a gun, and law-abiding Hoosiers shouldn't have to jump through hoops to defend themselves."

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. Lucas 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.

Lucas 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. Lucas 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. Jim Lucas (R-Seymour) represents House District 69, which includes
portions of Bartholomew, Jackson, Jennings and Jefferson counties.
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here to download a high-resolution photo.