Indiana legislators should not eliminate a state law that requires a license to carry a handgun.
A legislative committee met last week to start talking about a proposal to do just that. Similar legislation has failed the past two years.
Most if not all police organizations oppose such a proposal. Law enforcement officials argued at the hearing last week that the current law should be kept in place.
It’s not as if the current law is onerous toward law-abiding people who want to carry a handgun. But it includes this very reasonable language:
“A license to carry a handgun shall not be issued to any person who:
“(1) has been convicted of a felony;
“(2) has had a license to carry a handgun suspended, unless the person’s license has been reinstated;
“(3) is under eighteen (18) years of age;
“(4) is under twenty-three (23) years of age if the person has been adjudicated a delinquent child for an act that would be a felony if committed by an adult; or
“(5) has been arrested for a Class A or Class B felony, or any other felony that was committed while armed with a deadly weapon or that involved the use of violence, if a court has found probable cause to believe that the person committed the offense charged.”
In the case of No. 5, the restriction is lifted if charges are dropped or the person is acquitted.
In addition, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”
There’s no move in the legislature to reduce Second Amendment rights in effect in Indiana. The only effort under consideration is essentially eliminating the modest means in place to make it harder for some people who have already broken laws from legally carrying a handgun.
Police organizations believe restrictions in place have kept guns out of the hands of some people who may well have used them for ill intent. They believe defeating this effort the past two years has made Hoosiers safer.
If it makes it to the General Assembly in 2018, it should be defeated again.