Constitutional carry looked like it was dead in the water in Indiana.
Then, last week, it rose from the dead like Lazarus himself. Could a bill that looked to be going nowhere actually reach the governor’s desk? It was a question in the back of my mind, to say the least.
Well, we have an answer now. It can.
Republican lawmakers pushed through a bill that would repeal Indiana’s requirement for a permit to carry a handgun in public on Tuesday, further loosening the state’s firearms laws despite public opposition from the state police superintendent and some major law enforcement organizations.
The House and Senate approved the repeal as Republican lawmakers revived it last week after conflict among GOP senators had temporarily sidelined the issue.
Senators approved the bill 30—20 after House members earlier voted 68-30 largely along party lines in what was among the final issues taken up as the Republican-dominated Legislature neared adjournment of this year’s session.
Once the measure arrives at Gov. Eric Holcomb’s desk, he will have seven days to sign or veto it — or it would then become law without his signature.
The Republican governor hasn’t said whether he supports the concept of not requiring handgun permits, saying last week he would give the bill “careful thought.”
Of course, Holcomb could well end up vetoing the bill, but I don’t think that’s likely. My guess is that he’ll either sign the bill or just let the time period expire and let it go into law that way.
At least with the latter, he can always claim he didn’t sign the bill if it somehow becomes unpopular for whatever reason.
The passage of the bill gave a lot of people something to celebrate. Among them was the NRA, who issued a press release regarding the vote:
The National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action is pleased to announce the Indiana legislature passed NRA-backed constitutional carry legislation tonight and the bill is en route to the governor’s desk for signature.
“Hoosiers value their Second Amendment rights, yet under the current regime they are forced to ask the government for extra permission in order to exercise the fundamental right of carrying a firearm for self-defense,” said John Weber, NRA state director in Indiana. “The NRA is proud to have played a key role in getting this bill to the governor’s desk and we hope he will sign it.”
Constitutional carry simply allows law-abiding citizens, who are otherwise legally able to possess and carry a firearm, to carry that firearm for self-defense. It does not expand access to firearms in any way, nor change who is legal to posses and carry one.
Last year, similar legislation passed in five states making constitutional carry the law in 21 states nationwide. This year, a number of states are considering the legislation, including Ohio, Alabama and Georgia.
“Anti-self defense activists try to mislead the public by saying this legislation will allow criminals to carry — nothing could be further from the truth. Similar bills have passed in 21 other states and there has been no resulting increase in crime. This bill simply codifies the fundamental right of all people to defend themselves wherever a self-defense situation may arise,” Weber concluded.
To be fair, that kind of says it all.
We’ve seen a lot of people making such claims, all in hopes of distracting you from the truth, that constitutional carry only benefits the law-abiding.
That won’t stop some from trying to demonize the bill and urging Holcomb to veto it. That, however, would likely be a mistake. While he’s in his second term, the state doesn’t appear to have term limits, which means that if he wants to run again, he’d do well not to alienate the gun lobby.
Primary losses can still happen with sitting governors, after all.
Not that I think it’ll be necessary, as noted previously. That’s good news for Indiana.