FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Should Hoosiers have to obtain a permit to carry a handgun in Indiana?
House Rep. Ben Smaltz (R-Auburn) doesn’t believe so and authored a bill revoke the state’s current law. He told WANE 15’s Briana Brownlee he wants to level the playing field so that the lawful Hoosier does not have to jump through hurdles to own a gun. He added that if someone is an unlawful citizen, a criminal, a felon, this bill isn’t for them.
Phil Jones who works at ZX Gun, said he is for any law that helps protect the constitutional right of Americans. He mentioned that one of the big hurdles with the permit is the fact that it could be expensive.
“Indiana is a pretty gun friendly state fortunately, our legislators do a good job of protecting the will of the people,” said Jones. “The bill just gets closer to what our constitution reads and that’s to keep and bear arms. There are some people in the past who have not been able to get a permit because of the financial requirements.”
With the bill, Hoosiers will still be required to pass a background check for approval.
As of now, 16-states across the nation passed lawful carry, and Rep. Smaltz pointed out that six of those states are on USA News safest states in America. He said he has watched data through the FBI database to learn about trend lines, and gun crimes. He added that through his research, he has not seen any increase of officer safety issues, increased murders or crime involving handguns.
WANE 15 went downtown to ask viewers what do they thing of the bill, out of 5 people, only one person was against it. She said if it’s required to have a license to drive, then people should have a license to carry.
However, other Hoosiers do not feel the same.
“In my personal opinion, if you support the second amendment, everybody has the right to bear arms, everybody has the right to protect their homes and their children. If the Government is trying to make it easier for us to do that, awesome, but if they are trying to take them away I’m not going to say what I want to say on camera,” said one viewer who did not give his name.
Wednesday night, the House’s Public Policy Committee met for four hours in regards of the bill. The meeting was originally supposed to last for only two-hours, but was extended for public testimony.
Rep. Smaltz felt it received overwhelming support from the law enforcement community, despite some saying they are indifferent to the situation.
With the current permitting process that is in place brings in $3.5 million for local law enforcement. This money is used for firearm training, ammunition, bulletproof vest. He noted that he knows it is important revenue for local police and sheriffs departments and the House is committed to replacing the money in full.
“When people get reciprocity permits, which is a permit to carry in another state from Indiana. that revenue also stays at the local unit, so they should see more dollars helping them train, purchase firearms, and body armor then they did today”
The bill will also enhance they theft of a firearm, the current is a level 6 felony but with this bill it will become a level 5.