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Indiana Senate could change stance on handgun carry permits

February 19, 2022 GMT

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A top Indiana legislator says a proposal to repeal the state’s handgun permit requirement might win approval despite ongoing opposition from major law enforcement organizations and the state police superintendent.

Republican Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray said he expected a Senate committee in the coming week to advance the bill loosening Indiana’s already lenient firearms restrictions that the GOP-dominated House approved last month.

The bill would allow anyone age 18 or older to carry a handgun in public except for reasons such as having a felony conviction, facing a restraining order from a court or having a dangerous mental illness. Supporters argue the permit requirement undermines Second Amendment protections by forcing law-abiding citizens to undergo police background checks.

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The Senate didn’t take action last year on a similar bill that the House approved, citing the concerns raised by Indiana State Police, the state police chiefs association and the Indiana Fraternal Order of Police. Those groups have said they worried that eliminating the permit system would strip police of a screening tool for identifying dangerous people who shouldn’t have a gun and making that information quickly accessible to officers.

Indiana requires people to obtain a license to carry a loaded handgun outside their own homes, businesses, or cars, although people can generally carry rifles and shotguns without a permit. Twenty-one other states allow residents to carry handguns without permits, which gun rights advocates call “constitutional carry.”

Bray said senators were trying to balance Second Amendment rights with the concerns from police.

“As you look around other states that have done the same thing, there haven’t been a lot of other problems, at least that we have seen, that have cropped up as a result of this policy and so we’re trying to cautiously move forward with it,” Bray said.