INDIANAPOLIS — House Bill 1077, known as the ‘Constitutional Carry’ bill, has been effectively revived in the Indiana Senate after GOP lawmakers moved language from the now-dead bill into the unrelated Senate Bill 209.
SB 209 was originally a bill that addressed drug scheduling, but all that language was removed, and replaced with the original HB 1077 language.
HB 1077 would have removed the permit requirement to conceal carry a handgun in the state of Indiana. The bill was gutted in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Feb. 23 after citizens and law enforcement spoke against it in a hearing that lasted nearly nine hours.
On Wednesday, a conference committee chaired by Sen. Eric Koch (R-Bedford) revived the bill’s language and did not allow public comment on the change.
“Well, we're not going to have testimony today on the conference committee report,” he said.
Moms Demand Action staged a protest at the Statehouse on Tuesday in anticipation of Koch’s action. They displayed shoes painted red to symbolize lives the group believes will be lost if the bill passes.
“If there's no stopgap to stop people from getting a gun, then ... chaos," said Cathy Weinmann, lead of the Indianapolis chapter.
A conference committee is a committee that is formed to reconcile two different versions of the same bill passed in the two different chambers. It is legal for Koch to replace the entirety of the bill, but Weinmann questions the move.
“It's legal to do this, but is it ethical?” She said. “There's no public notification that this is happening, and most people throughout the state, you have to be a political junkie to know about conference committees.
SB 209 will still have to pass both chambers of the legislature and be signed by the governor before it can become a law.
Sen. Koch declined an interview for this story.