Correction: House Enrolled Act 1296 allows for the concealed or open carry of a handgun without a permit.
INDIANAPOLIS — A bill that would remove the permit requirement to carry a handgun in the state of Indiana was signed Monday by Gov. Eric Holcomb.
House Enrolled Act 1296 will repeal the law that requires a person to obtain a license to carry a handgun and specifies that people who aren't otherwise prohibited from carrying or possessing a handgun aren't required to obtain a permit to do so.
The legislation has received heavy criticism from law enforcement officials across the state, including Indiana State Police Superintendent Douglas Carter. Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears has also opposed the bill.
Holcomb defended his decision to sign the bill.
"HEA 1296, which I've signed today, entrusts Hoosiers who can lawfully carry a handgun to responsibly do so within our State. It’s important to note that if a person is prohibited, under federal or state laws, from possessing a firearm before this law goes into effect, that person will still be prohibited. And if a prohibited person has a firearm, he or she can be prosecuted. Firearm permits will remain available, without fee, to anyone who wants or needs one, such as Hoosiers desiring to carry a firearm to, through or in another state that has reciprocity with Indiana.”-
Carter said law enforcement will continue to encourage citizens to apply for and maintain a firearms permit.
"As Superintendent of the Indiana State Police, I have pledged my continued commitment to Governor Holcomb to work towards solutions enacting HEA 1296. I, like Governor Holcomb, feel enormous responsibility for front-line law enforcement officers. I will work with law enforcement leaders across our state to make necessary changes to firearms enforcement as well as finding the best way to identify individuals who are not allowed to carry a firearm as defined by Indiana statute.”
The Indiana Democratic Party released a statement against the bill.
"A majority of Hoosiers told Indiana Republicans directly they opposed permitless carry. State law enforcement echoed their opposition to the measure a year after Republicans defunded their departments. But unfortunately, Governor Eric Holcomb decided to put politics ahead of protecting the safety of Hoosier families by signing permitless carry into law," Chairman Mike Schmuhl said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action applauded the bill's passage.
"The government should not mandate that law-abiding citizens get permission before exercising their fundamental, constitutional right to self defense," said Jason Ouimet, executive director of NRA-ILA. “We thank Gov. Holcomb, bill author Rep. Ben Smaltz, legislative leaders, and every lawmaker who supported this landmark legislation.”
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