INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – 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 organisations.
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.
Once the measure arrives at Governor Eric Holcomb’s desk, he will have seven days to sign or veto it – or it would then become law without his signature.
The bill’s provisions would allow anyone age 18 or older to carry a handgun in public except for reasons such as having a felony conviction, facing a restraining order from a court or having a dangerous mental illness.
Supporters argue the permit requirement undermines Second Amendment protections by forcing law-abiding citizens to undergo police background checks that can take weeks.
A Republican from Bedford who presented the bill in the Senate, Senator Eric Koch said he considered the law enforcement community to be “divided on this issue”.
The repeal proposal easily passed the House in January but faced more skepticism in the Senate, where it stalled last month. State Police Superintendent Doug Carter, joined by the state’s Fraternal Order of Police, police chiefs association and county prosecutors association, strongly objected the proposal.
They maintained the permit repeal would strip officers of a screening tool for quickly identifying dangerous people they encounter who shouldn’t have guns.