Already this year we’ve seen Utah and Montana adopt Constitutional Carry legislation, but the ranks of states that recognize the right of legal gun owners to carry without a license may grow even larger in the weeks to come. On Monday the Indiana House approved its own Constitutonal Carry bill, which now heads over to the state Senate.
Lawmakers are optimistic about the chances for the bill getting to Gov. Eric Holcomb for his approval, though the biggest opposition at the moment is coming from law enforcement in the state.
“This will cause less peace,” Rep. Mitch Gore, D-Indianapolis said, on the House floor. “Our people will be less safe.”Gore is a captain with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.
The bill would require state police and the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to develop a process to enable law enforcement to quickly check whether someone is prohibited from carrying a handgun.
Opponents worry that system won’t be in place by that March 2022 start date, or ever.
Indiana State Police Superintendent Douglas Carter was among those who testified in opposition to the bill in committee because he said it shifts the burden from those carrying the firearms to officers.
The Indianapolis Star reports that “ther officers, however, testified in support of the legislation,” though they didn’t bother to quote any of them.
As for the argument that Constitutional Carry will make Indiana residents less safe, let’s look at the facts. There are now 18 states that recognize the right of legal gun owners to carry without a license, and not a single one of them have decided it was a bad idea and moved to repeal the law.
We also know that there are plenty of criminals in Indiana (and every other state) who are carrying firearms even though they don’t have a license or may even be prohibited by law from legally owning a gun. It would still be just as illegal for them to do so under Constitutional Carry as it is right now, so I’m not sure where Rep. Gore gets the idea that people will be less safe if the bill were to pass and become law.
One of the other arguments in opposition to Constitutional Carry has been the budgetary impact on the police departments around the state, which are expected to lose several million dollars a year in funding that they currently receives from concealed carry license fees. That’s not a good enough reason to scrap Constitutional Carry altogether, especially if funds can be redirected to those law enforcement agencies to make up the difference. As it turns out, Republicans have already taken steps to do just that, inserting $3.5 million for local police departments in the budget that it approved on Monday.
Like every other state that has adopted Constitutional Carry, Indiana wouldn’t actually get rid of its concealed carry license. Folks who want one in order to be able to legally carry in states with reciprocity agreements with Indiana could still do so, and it’s likely that a significant number of existing concealed carry holders would choose to hang on to their license.
Constitutional Carry has been pushed in the Indiana legislature going back to 2016, but it’s never actually made it to the governor’s desk. That is likely to change this year, and Indiana could become the 19th state in the Union to recognize the right to both keep and bear arms without the need for a governmental permission slip. Gun control activists and anti-gun politicians might not like it, but Constitutional Carry puts the Second Amendment on the same level as the rest of our constitutionally-protected rights, and it’s the right move for Indiana (and the other 29 states that have yet to adopt the policy).
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