SOUTH BEND TRIBUNE
An Indiana House committee did the right thing in dumping a proposal to repeal the state’s handgun licensing law.
The House Public Policy Committee stripped a bill of language that would have repealed Indiana’s permit requirement to carry a handgun.
According to an Indianapolis Star report, Rep. Timothy Wesco, R-Osceola, the bill’s sponsor, introduced an amendment last Wednesday that voided his own bill — much to the surprise of law enforcement officers who had come to testify against the proposal due to safety concerns.
The amended bill also eliminates fees for a lifetime permit to carry a handgun in public and extends the four-year permit to five years. The bill, which moves to the full House for consideration, would go into effect in July 2019.
Repeal supporter Rep. Jim Lucas, who introduced the so-called “constitutional carry” proposal this session for the fourth consecutive year, said that he was “going to hold my nose” in voting for Wesco’s bill. Lucas, R-Seymour, has argued that law-abiding citizens shouldn’t have to get state permission to carry out their Second Amendment rights.
Law enforcement organizations had taken a different view, calling the permitting process an important tool for making sure that anyone carrying a handgun is legally allowed to do so. Those with felony or domestic battery convictions can be stopped from obtaining a license.
“The ability to vet candidates prior to the handgun permit is a valuable resource to law enforcement in capturing some of those that should not have permits and be allowed to carry firearms out in our communities,” said Steuben County Sheriff Tim Troyer, president of the Indiana Sheriffs Association.
Such arguments make it clear that opposition to the licensing repeal isn’t part of an effort to erode Second Amendment rights. A gun permit is a reasonable step that in no way infringes on this right.
Thankfully, that side won the day.
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