Next Monday, a committee of Indiana lawmakers will meet for a final time as it considers a proposal to eliminate Indiana’s license requirement for carrying a loaded handgun in public. As these lawmakers develop their recommendation for the full legislature about the proposal, they face a clear question:
Will they listen to the law enforcement leaders and to the overwhelming majority of Hoosiers, who support the state’s sensible license requirement? Or will they buckle to pressure from people like Rep. Jim Lucas, whose extremist views are out of touch with those of most Indiana gun owners?
In recent weeks, Rep. Lucas, the primary backer of permitless carry in Indiana, has suggested requiring journalists to be licensed by the state police and even requiring licenses for freedom of speech and religion. Apparently intended as ways to generate publicity around his push to eliminate Indiana’s handgun carry license requirement, these proposals have instead revealed just how desperate Rep. Lucas is to impress the most extreme opponents of gun safety laws – including people who at one point deemed even Rep. Lucas too moderate.
Meanwhile, polling of more than 1,000 Indiana adults conducted earlier this year shows nine in ten Indiana adults – including 84 percent of gun owners and 90 percent of Republicans – support requiring a license in order to carry a loaded handgun in public in Indiana.
Support for the state’s license requirement also runs strong among Indiana’s law enforcement officials, many of whom have spoken out about the ways the license requirement helps them protect the public. At a study committee hearing in August, lawmakers heard from officials representing the Indiana State Police, the Indianapolis Fraternal Order of Police, the Indiana Association of Chiefs of Police, the Indiana State Police Alliance and the Indiana Sheriffs Association who opposed permitless carry.
Of the 28 states that have considered permitless carry bills this year, only two have enacted this dangerous legislation, 20 have rejected it and bills in six states are still pending. Law enforcement officials and groups have expressed grave concerns about permitless carry in Indiana and in many other states, including North Dakota, Missouri, South Dakota, Montana, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
With the final study committee hearing on permitless carry just days away, it’s critical that lawmakers listen to Indiana law enforcement groups and Hoosiers, not extremist opponents of gun safety laws, on this issue. If you have any questions, or to request an interview, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.