'Constitutional carry': Indiana eliminates permit requirement to carry handguns in public
INDIANAPOLIS - Indiana’s governor on Monday signed a bill eliminating the state’s permit requirement to carry handguns in public.
In signing the handgun permit requirement repeal, Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb went against the vocal opposition of his state police superintendent to the further loosening of the state’s lenient firearms laws.
The permit repeal, called "constitutional carry" by gun-rights supporters in reference to the Second Amendment, was criticized by major law enforcement groups who argued eliminating the permit system would endanger officers by stripping them of a screening tool for quickly identifying dangerous people who shouldn’t have guns.
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At least 21 other states already allow residents to carry handguns without permit — and Ohio’s Republican governor signed a similar bill last week.
Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter joined leaders of the state’s Fraternal Order of Police, police chiefs association and county prosecutors association in speaking out against the change.
Carter, wearing his state police uniform, stood in the back of the Senate chamber as the bill was being debated. He said after the vote that approval of the measure "does not support law enforcement — period."
Holcomb said in a statement that the permit repeal bill "entrusts Hoosiers who can lawfully carry a handgun to responsibly do so within our state."
"It’s important to note that if a person is prohibited, under federal or state laws, from possessing a firearm before this law goes into effect, that person will still be prohibited," Holcomb said.
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The firearms law, which will take effect July 1, will 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 fingerprinting and background checks.
Carter, the former elected Republican sheriff in central Indiana’s Hamilton County who was first appointed state police superintendent by Pence in 2013, said in a statement he would "work with law enforcement leaders across our state to make necessary changes to firearms enforcement as well as identifying the best way to identify individuals who are not allowed to carry a firearm as defined by Indiana statute."