Bill to revoke law requiring gun permit shot down by Indiana Senate

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – It may come as a disappointment to many Hoosiers, but the bill that would do away with the law requiring Indiana Residents to have a permit to carry a firearm was killed in the Senate.

“I’m disappointed, I’m disappointed it didn’t pass for lawful Hoosiers, but it’s not the first bill that we lost and it’s not going to be the last one,” said Representative Ben Smaltz, author of the bill. “We’ll pick ourselves up and we’re look at it again and we’ll see where we’ll go next.”

After making it out of the Indiana House, the bill went to the Senate Judiciary Committee, but was never heard. Because of this the bill died.

Senator Liz Brown (R-Fort Wayne), who supports the Second Amendment, is the chair of the Senate Judiciary committee where the bill died. In a statement she stated that she believes this bill would receive positive accolades but portions of the bill caused concerns.

Some supporters of Second Amendment rights, but not all, are disappointed House Bill 1369 will not become law this year. While this bill would have gained us positive accolades with certain constituencies, many senators along with law enforcement agencies, had concerns with portions of the bill. For example, the bill requires that the state develop a process so police officers can quickly access information about whether or not an individual may have a handgun. Indiana State Police say building such a database is not currently possible, and the only state with a similar database that we could try to mimic is California. California is certainly not a state I want to take gun policies from.

Sen. Liz Brown

Rep. Smaltz said this bill does not create a database, but creates a process by which the information can get to an officer on the street about whether or not a person is prohibited from carrying a firearm.

“Interestingly, in 2019, the Senate passed Senate Bill 36 that actually did create a felon database and the House rejected that,” Rep. Smaltz said.

The bill experienced pushback from law enforcement agencies across the state including in Allen County. Both Fort Wayne Police and the Allen County Sheriff Department went on record against the bill, because taking away permits takes a tool out of officers’ safety toolbox.

“I’m sure the Senate spoke to people, both for and against it and the process worked. They weighed the options and decided not to pass the bill,” Captain Stone said.

When asked if he will push the bill again next session, Rep. Smaltz said he will decide next session. He added that every session is unique and support is important and building that support takes time.

Months ago he told WANE 15’s Briana Brownlee that he drafted this bill to level the playing field for lawful Hoosiers, and make it where they do not have to jump through hurdles to own a gun.

In her statement, Sen. Brown added that Indiana has a strong tradition of defending the Second Amendment rights and she looks forward to future proposals that build on that tradition.

“In order to make carrying a handgun easier for Hoosiers, Senate Republicans are moving forward with a budget proposal to make Indiana’s lifetime handgun permit free. This builds on a 2019 decision to make Indiana’s five-year firearm permit free. Currently, police departments use the permit fees for law enforcement training, but the Senate’s budget proposal will replace any revenue lost by this change. 

Sen. Liz Brown

She added that the Senate Judiciary Committee, heard and passed Senate Resolution 39 in a public stand for the Second Amendment.

“Hoosiers’ Second Amendment rights will be under attack by the Biden administration over the next four years. Therefore, we find it imperative to have solid state laws that will withstand federal attacks and legal challenges,” Sen. Brown stated.

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