Gun owners confident ahead of key Constitutional Carry vote

Gun owners confident ahead of key Constitutional Carry vote
AP Photo/Carlos Osorio

After passing out of a key legislative committee last week, the Indiana House of Representatives is poised to vote on Constitutional Carry legislation as early as Monday, and Second Amendment supporters sound pretty positive about the bill’s chances for passage.

2A activist Guy Relford says that this year’s legislation is an improvement over the permitless carry bill introduced last year, which passed the House but failed to get a vote in the state Senate. Gone is the requirement that the state develop a new database that would allow police officers to access the criminal history of individuals pulled over for traffic offenses, which several Second Amendment organizations had objected to. But something else has changed since the defeat of the permitless carry legislation introduced last year: five states have adopted Constitutional Carry laws of their own, bringing the total number of permitless carry states to 21.

But another reason Relford, known as “The Gun Guy” on his radio show on WIBC, says he and others are optimistic is he says the data shows in states that have passed constitutional carry, also called permitless carry, crime has not increased.

“We keep getting more and more data and information that completely debunks that,” he says.

House Bill 1077 passed out of committee Wednesday with all nine Republicans voting for it and the three Democrats on the committee voting against it.

It allows anyone who is not otherwise prohibited from possessing a firearm under state or federal law to carry a loaded handgun, open or concealed, on his or her person, or in a bag or in a vehicle.

It thus allows someone to immediately procure a firearm that they can use for personal protection outside their home, Relford said, rather than having to go through a multi-step process of getting a license through the Indiana State Police.

This licensing process involves filling out an online application, getting fingerprinted, and taking those fingerprints to a local police department.

In his testimony before the House Public Policy Committee on Wednesday, Relford held up his mobile phone to the committee chairman to show how long the wait is in Marion County to get a fingerprint appointment. The next available appointment was June 9.

That delay is absolutely crazy, and a perfect example of why Constitutional Carry is needed even after Indiana removed the fees for a concealed carry license. It’s great that gun owners no longer have to fork over cash to the state before they can exercise their constitutional right to bear arms, but if folks are having to wait six months or more before they can lawfully carry, it’s clear to me that their rights are still being infringed.

While permitless carry didn’t get a vote in the state Senate last year, there are some hopeful signs in that chamber as well. Sen. Liz Brown, who’s the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, didn’t bring up the Constitutional Carry bill for a vote last session, but this year she’s actually introduced a permitless carry bill of her own. That’s not a guarantee of legislative success, of course, but it’s definitely a positive development. As long as gun owners keep up their contacts with lawmakers and urge them to stand firm in support of their Second Amendment rights, I’d say the prospects of permitless carry passing the legislature and reaching Gov. Eric Holcolmb’s desk in the near future are very good.