Indiana Effort Toward Permitless Carry Moves Another Step Forward

Jim Zengerle

The Second Amendment preserves the right to keep and bear arms. It’s a straightforward right in every way, but people have made it that much more complicated. You can have guns and you can carry them.

Unfortunately, too many state governments of the past decided that carrying them was a privilege, not a right.

Indiana is one of several states trying to fix that. Their effort just took another step forward, too.

A bill that allows Indiana gun owners to lawfully carry a gun without having to get a government-issued license is working its way through the state Senate after already passing the House.

House Bill 1369 received its first reading in the Senate Judiciary Committee recently after easily passing the House last month, and state representatives continue to trumpet the effort as an elimination of government regulations that limit the rights of gun owners.

“Hoosiers who respect the law are the ones going through the application process to carry a firearm – not criminals,” said Rep. Jeff Ellington, R-Bloomington. “If passed, law-abiding citizens won’t have to jump through hoops to defend themselves or their loved ones.”

Sens. Erin Houchin, R-Salem; Eric Koch, R-Bedford; and Mark Messmer, R-Jasper, sponsored the bill in the Senate. It’s not on the agenda for Wednesday’s committee meeting.

According to Ellington, gun owners in Indiana must complete an online firearms application, schedule a fingerprint appointment and complete local law enforcement agency processing within 180 days. Then, the application goes to the Indiana State Police for final review.

Of course, the usual suspects are crowing about how this will allow criminals to walk around armed, forgetting that criminals can’t legally own a firearm. If they’re carrying, they’re doing it illegally.

They’re also doing it now.

What permitless carry does is allow law-abiding citizens to not have to ask the government for permission to carry their firearm, much like how they don’t have to ask the government for permission to express their beliefs on social media or out in public, nor do they need permission to worship.

Those rights are still mostly considered sacrosanct in our nation, but our gun rights? Not even close. Permitless carry will take a big step in getting them back there, though.

If this passes, law-abiding citizens who determine they’re under threat won’t have to go through long, drawn-out steps just to get a permit. They can strap on their firearms and rest easy with the understanding that they have the best tool to protect themselves available.

Further, the criminals will now have even more armed citizens on the streets to contend with. They’ll be faced with the real possibility of death over a few measly bucks in someone’s wallet or some store’s cash register. More and more may well decide it’s just not worth it and start looking for honest work instead.

Or, they’ll get shot and figure out that a career in crime is a bad idea because the health plan sucks, if for no other reason. I can live with that well enough.