Moms Demand Action concerned over flood of free five-year handgun licenses

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — A group of mothers is urging lawmakers to take action on gun safety after a new law made it free for Hoosiers to apply for lifetime gun permits.

“We are often seen as the enemy and we are not the enemy,” said Heather Hibert, Moms Demand Action volunteer. “We are pro-second amendment. We are a group that includes veterans and gun owners. We simply just want to make sure people are responsible with their firearms and that they don’t get into the hands of someone who shouldn’t have them.”

Moms Demand Action is a grassroots movement that started in Indiana to fight and enact public safety measures to protect people from gun violence. Shannon Watts, a Zionsville mom founded the group after the Sandy Hook shooting. Since then the group has more than six million members across America.

Heather Hibert is a mom of three, a gun owner, and a volunteer for Moms Demand Action. She says the group believes that there should be a background check on every gun sale and that gun owners should have a license.

A line in the state’s two-year budget that passed during the 2021 legislative session eliminated the $125 fee that Hoosiers previously had to pay for the license.

Within the first week, Indiana State Police told WANE 15 that more than 25,000 people had signed up for the license. With the recent flood of Hoosiers applying for free five-year handgun licenses, Hibert says she is concerned.

“When the licensing takes too long it’s flooded the system, we run the risk of buying a firearm with someone else without carrying a license,” Hibert said. “When that happens we run into the risk of they are buying from a seller not doing a background check. We run the risk of them transferring ownership of a gun to someone who shouldn’t have it.”

In an interview with WANE 15, Indiana House Representative Jim Lucas (R-Seymour) believed that the new law was long overdue and that in the next legislative session he would submit legislation to ‘eliminate the infringement of our rights.’

The infringements Lucas wants to correct are eliminating Gun-Free Zones and eliminating licenses for both open or concealed carry.

Hibert says the group does not agree with Lucas’s plans and wants lawmakers to make stronger laws. One of the laws that she says need to be strengthened is the Red Flag law.

The group also wants lawmakers to create:

  • A safe storage law that would make gun owners store their guns in a safe way
  • Stricter guidelines around background checks while also making it easier for residents to get a background check in a timely fashion

“It is going to take Indiana legislatures, community leaders, city officials to stand up and say this is enough,” Hibert said. “Indianapolis alone has had nearly 140 homicides by gun this year already. And it’s going to take all of us together as a community to prevent (gun violence) from happening.”

Hibert says she and the group are willing to work with lawmakers to help protect Hoosiers.

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