A Constitutional Carry bill ended up stalling in Indiana’s legislature this year, but lawmakers did approve a bill that would end the fees for a lifetime concealed carry license. That law took effect on July 1st, and the Indiana State Police website was quickly overwhelmed by the response from residents. In fact, in the first 24 hours after the law changed, more than 7,000 people successfully applied for their carry license, and the demand has continued in the days since.
Within the first week, Indiana State Police told WANE 15 that more than 25,000 people had signed up for the license.
Indiana House Representative Jim Lucas (R-Seymour) believes that the new law was long overdue.
“This is something that should have never been a discussion to begin with – licensing a constitutional right,” said Rep. Jim Lucas. “So the state is not allowing it. We are relinquishing the infringement we’ve been putting on Hoosier citizens for all this time.”
A lifetime permit used to cost $125, but now that’s been zeroed out, though applicants will still have to pay a third-party for fingerprinting services (which was also the case under the old law). WANE-TV reports that the state has already “lost” $3.1-million dollars because of the removal of the fees, but that’s not really the case. You can’t lose what you never had, after all, and that figure represents the money that would have been collected had the same number of people applied under the old law. If the law hadn’t changed, however, I don’t think 25,000 people would have applied over the first week of July, so it’s wrong on a couple of levels to say that the state has lost millions of dollars. Besides, as Rep. Lucas points out, though the money collected in years past went to local police departments, the legislature decided that the state shouldn’t be charging those fees for a reason.
Lucas said he believes that the state should not be using the license of a ‘constitutional right for revenue.’
“I support our police officers and believe they should be trained but that should be a debt load that is spread evenly amongst society and not the backs of people exercising their constitutional right,” said Rep. Lucas. “Several years ago I had an amendment that passed into law that recognized the rights of the local counties so local officials can raise tax revenues for the amount of money they want to put toward training their officers.”
Lucas makes a great point. Law enforcement serves to protect the entire community, so why should those exercising their Second Amendment rights have to pony up extra cash for cops? The funding for police should be “spread evenly amongst society,” as Lucas asserts, and localities can make up the difference on their own.
Whether or not Indiana takes the next step and removes the need for carry licenses completely is still an open question, though Lucas says it will be one of his top priorities next year.
“People should have a right to bear arms in defense of themselves and the state, period,” said Lucas. “There should be no license required for either open or concealed carry. As long as you are not a prohibited person in the state of Indiana your rights should be recognized. So that’s the next step and I will be submitting legislation again next legislative session to eliminate the infringement of our rights.”
Lucas also plans on introducing legislation to get rid of gun-free zones across Indiana, arguing that “the only thing gun laws do is.. make people that obey gun laws easy victims for those who don’t obey gun laws.” That’s certainly the case when it comes to gun-free zones. No madman or murderer is going to be dissuaded from carrying out an attack because of a sign that says “no guns allowed here,” but gun owners wanting to stay on the right side of the law are left defenseless if they comply.
We’ll see what happens with Constitutional Carry and the repeal of gun-free zones in the coming months, but for now, at least, it’s good to see so many Hoosiers taking advantage of the opportunity to lawfully carry without having to pay more than $100 to exercise their constitutionally-protected right.