INDIANAPOLIS — A bill that will ban the need for a permit to carry a handgun in Indiana will soon become state law, now that it has Gov. Eric Holcomb's signature.
While that means anyone who isn't otherwise prohibited from carrying a gun won't have to have a permit to do so, it doesn't eliminate the need for permits altogether.
That's because you'll still need one to carry a gun out of state, since not every state has a constitutional carry law.
“We have agreements with other states but they may not necessarily be a permitless carry,” said IMPD Assistant Chief of Police Chris Bailey. “So, you could find yourself in legal jeopardy carrying it from state to state.”
Bailey is one of several law enforcement officials across the state who spoke out against the permitless carry law, which goes into effect on July 1. He said it will make solving crimes involving gun violence more difficult.
"I think that's the biggest thing we are going to miss out on is being able to have some possession of guns and test them to see if they are linked to other crimes," said Bailey. "It's going to make solving cases more difficult."
Bailey said there are 1,300 cases pending at the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office against people who have been charged for carrying a handgun without a license. Each of one those cases represents a gun that was removed from the streets and tested in the National Integrated Biolistic Information Network. That allows officers to connect the gun to crimes involving gun violence.
“That tool is no longer available to us, and so solving crimes I think is going to be more difficult after July 1 than it is today,” said Bailey.
While several law enforcement agencies don’t support the legislation, many citizens and gun shop owners do.
Ryan Vaden, owner of Vaden's Firearms & Ammunition, is in favor of the governor's decision. He said it will eliminate barriers for the average citizen to get a gun. As it stands now, citizens who buy a gun from a gun shop must first go through a background check.
"When you purchase a handgun or whatever, you still have to go through the NICS background check,” said Vaden. "You also have to do a 4473 form, and that NICS background check by the ATF will determine if you can lawfully purchase a firearm out of the store."
The new law doesn’t affect how guns are sold. However, gun sales are a concern for police but not guns sold at gun stores. Private sales are the issue since there is no background check at gun shows, on the Internet, or in a private sale.
Bailey said the permit requirement weeds out those people who may buy a gun illegally and can’t legally own one. He added that the background check that is done for a permit to carry is more thorough.
"The criminal history system if you will do not always talk to each other,” said Bailey. “So that’s why the law required you to get a local check: to make sure you don't have a criminal history in the IMPD jurisdiction that may not show up when the state police run a check on, or the FBI when you go through the process of getting a handgun license."
While gun shop owners like Vaden understand some of police officials' concerns, he said the new law doesn't mean there are no consequences when it comes to illegally using or owning a firearm.
IMPD said its officers will continue to enforce the permit requirement until the new law goes into effect this summer.
RELATED | Gov. Holcomb signs bill that will axe permit requirement to carry concealed handgun | Marion County Prosecutor joins law enforcement in opposing constitutional carry bill | ‘Constitutional Carry’ bill revived in Indiana Senate in form of Senate Bill 209
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