Indiana Governor Signs Bill Eliminating Handgun Permits

Despite the new law, Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter said police will continue to encourage citizens to apply for a permit

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Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb signed into law Monday a bill eliminating the need for handgun permits, effectively making Indiana the 24th constitutional carry state in the nation.

Holcomb previously sidestepped giving his stance on the contentious bill, which was pushed through by Republican lawmakers but opposed by Indiana's top law enforcement official, county prosecutors and the state's police chiefs association.

In a statement following the signing Monday afternoon, Holcomb said "the Second Amendment has been debated for years, yet time and again our U.S. Supreme Court has reaffirmed this important constitutional right that I fully support."

"...HEA 1296, which I've signed today, entrusts Hoosiers who can lawfully carry a handgun to responsibly do so within our State," he added.

Under the legislation, anyone age 18 or older can legally carry a handgun in public except for reasons such as having a felony conviction or having a dangerous mental illness. 

State police Superintendent Doug Carter previously joined leaders of the state Fraternal Order of Police, police chiefs association and county prosecutors association in arguing that eliminating the permit system would endanger officers by stripping them of a screening tool for quickly identifying dangerous people who shouldn’t have guns.

After Carter told lawmakers that “if you choose to support this bill, you will not be supporting us,” Holcomb said, “I stand behind Superintendent Carter 110%.” But when asked about the permit repeal bill, Holcomb simply said he would give the bill “careful thought” once it reached his desk, “understanding what the superintendent articulated is real.”

In a statement Monday, Carter said state police will continue to encourage citizens to apply for and maintain a permit, explaining it will assist law enforcement and allow reciprocity with other states.

"I will work with law enforcement leaders across our state to make necessary changes to firearms enforcement as well as finding the best way to identify individuals who are not allowed to carry a firearm as defined by Indiana statute," he said.

NBC Chicago/Associated Press
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