A special study committee to consider the elimination Indiana’s handgun license requirements took more public testimony Thursday. It was the second of three scheduled meetings on the issue and reports the debate played out largely unchanged from the past several years.
Dozens of Hoosiers on either side of the debate showed up to testify about allowing people to carry guns in Indiana without a license.
Rep. Jim Lucas (R-North Vernon) says law-abiding Hoosiers have a constitutional right to carry and those who shouldn’t will anyway.
“Criminals are by nature people who don’t obey laws and a little pink card isn’t going to stop anybody from committing a major felony,” says Lucas.
But Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry says the law is not burdensome.
“Any number of individuals in our office have spoken to me and said ‘I don’t understand what the problem is, it took me an hour to fill out the application online and then go have myself fingerprinted,’” Curry says.
The committee is also tasked with examining the issue as it relates to suicide. Laurie Gerdt administers a statewide suicide prevention program.
“Hoosiers are dying by suicide, by firearm,” says Gerdt. “So there is an access issue that I wanted to make sure you were aware of.”
More than 3,000 people in Indiana were denied gun licenses in 2016. Attorney Guy Relford says he represents many of those people.
“Once we go in there and admit to that mistake and we file an affidavit that says ‘no, I realize that now’ the police will turn around and issue the license,” Relford says.
The last meeting is planned for October.