After years of seeing legislation fail to get to the finish line, gun owners in the Hoosier state may now soon be able to carry concealed firearms without first obtaining a permit.
The Indiana Senate passed a permitless gun-carry bill on a 30-20 vote Tuesday night. The Senate vote came after clearing the House on a 68-30 vote earlier in the day. The bill now heads to the desk of Governor Eric Holcomb (R.) for signature or veto.
Erin Murphy, a spokesperson for Governor Holcomb, told The Reload the Governor would review the bill and “make the best determination for all Hoosiers.”
Tuesday night’s vote makes Indiana the third state in less than a week to have a permitless gun-carry bill clear the state legislature. The legislatures of both Ohio and Alabama passed similar bills last Thursday.
Indiana’s legislation would allow adults who are otherwise legally able to possess and carry a firearm to carry that firearm openly or concealed without first obtaining a permit. It would not alter who is eligible to purchase or possess a gun. That means those convicted of felonies, domestic violence misdemeanors, or adjudicated mentally ill are still barred from owning or carrying firearms.
The National Rifle Association (NRA), who was active in backing the bill’s passage in the Indiana statehouse, cheered the results of Tuesday night’s vote.
“Hoosiers value their Second Amendment rights, yet under the current regime they are forced to ask the government for extra permission in order to exercise the fundamental right of carrying a firearm for self-defense,” John Weber, NRA state director in Indiana, said in a statement following the vote. “The NRA is proud to have played a key role in getting this bill to the governor’s desk, and we hope he will sign it.”
Meanwhile, Democratic legislators voiced opposition to the bill.
“It is a scary day for Indiana,” Indiana state Senator Greg Taylor said after the Senate vote. “After lots of statewide opposition, the permitless carry bill passed out of the Legislature. I am extremely disappointed. This legislation is irresponsible and has the potential to cause an increase in gun violence across the state.”
The path to getting permitless carry passed through the state legislature was unorthodox. The provision was originally in a separate bill that was ultimately gutted in the state Senate Judiciary Committee last month. The same committee, headed by chairwoman Liz Brown (R.), killed a permitless carry bill in last year’s session.
The language was then reinserted into an unrelated bill where it was able to advance and ultimately clear both chambers of the Legislature —over the opposition of state Democrats, various state police agencies, and even some Republican lawmakers.
Weber downplayed the concerns of those who said the bill would endanger public safety.
“Anti-self defense activists try to mislead the public by saying this legislation will allow criminals to carry — nothing could be further from the truth,” he said. “Similar bills have passed in 21 other states, and there has been no resulting increase in crime. This bill simply codifies the fundamental right of all people to defend themselves wherever a self-defense situation may arise.”