INDIANAPOLIS – Some law enforcement agencies are raising questions about a bill that would allow Hoosiers age 18 and older to carry handguns without a permit.

House Bill 1077 is headed to the Indiana Senate after passing the House earlier this month.

“Without that permitting in place, there’s really no easy way for us to be able to determine whether somebody is allowed to carry a weapon or not,” said Deputy Chief Chuck McMichael of the Greenfield Police Department.

Officers can easily check permits now, McMichael said. But without that kind of system, he’s worried about the potential impact on public safety, he added.

“Being able to protect those unable to protect themselves,” McMichael explained. “So we’re talking about those survivors of domestic abuse, family abuse.”

Advocates for the bill point out the proposal still prohibits anyone convicted of a felony or deemed mentally unfit from carrying a gun.

There are some Hoosiers with law enforcement backgrounds who support the measure.

“In 14 years, I’ve never seen a person legally carrying doing anything other than protecting themselves,” said Eric McBride, a reserve deputy who runs MTAC, a firearms academy in Muncie.

McBride said he believes the bill would not increase the number of people illegally carrying handguns. He feels by removing the permit process, more law-abiding Hoosiers could defend themselves more easily.

“We much rather would have responsible gun owners carrying on themselves and being able to protect themselves than not having them on them,” McBride said.

According to the U.S. Concealed Carry Association, 21 states currently allow permitless carry under certain qualifications.

A similar proposal in the state Senate recently received a committee hearing but was not given a vote.

It’s not yet clear how far the House bill may advance in the Senate.