State Rep. Baird supports bill removing roadblock for lawful gun owners

Posted by: Wade Coggeshall  | Tuesday, March 16, 2021

STATEHOUSE (March 16, 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 State Rep. Beau Baird (R-Greencastle).

"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."

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

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.

Baird 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. 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. 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.