Morgan County legislators support bill removing roadblock for lawful gun owners

Posted by: Wade Coggeshall and Samantha Holifield  | Wednesday, March 17, 2021

STATEHOUSE (March 17, 2021) – The Indiana House of Representatives 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 Morgan County lawmakers.

"Currently, Hoosiers submit to background checks prior to the commercial purchase of a handgun and again when they want to carry it," said State Rep. Peggy Mayfield (R-Martinsville), vice chair of the House Public Policy Committee. "There's no need for this duplication and the financial burden it imposes upon lawful citizens who want to exercise their constitutional right."

According to Mayfield, 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. She 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. State Rep. Beau Baird (R-Greencastle) said this step helps ensure only eligible buyers legally purchase handguns.

"The ability to protect yourself, those you love and your property is not a liberty the government should impede," Baird said. "There are measures already in place designed to prevent firearms from ending up in the wrong hands, and the penalties for those who break those laws are severe."

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. 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.

State Rep. John Young (R-Franklin) said 18 states already allow law-abiding citizens to carry a handgun without a government-issued permit, including Kentucky.

"Safeguards are already in place to ensure only those legally allowed to purchase a firearm are able to," Young said. "Additional red-tape only impedes law-abiding citizens from exercising their Second Amendment right, and those wishing to carry within the state should be able to do so without jumping through numerous hoops."

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. Young 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. Peggy Mayfield (R-Martinsville) represents House District 60,
which includes portions of Morgan and Monroe counties.
Click here for a high-resolution photo.

State Rep. Beau Baird (R-Greencastle) represents House District 44, which includes
all of Putnam County and portions of Clay, Morgan, Owen and Parke counties.
Click here to download a high-resolution photo.

State Rep. John Young (R-Franklin) represents House District 47,
which includes portions of Johnson and Morgan counties.
Click here to download a high-resolution photo.