Indiana panel avoids specifics on handgun licensing changes

INDIANAPOLIS (WANE) Should gun owners in Indiana be required to have a license to carry? It’s a controversial topic that brings a lot of heated debate.

Monday, state lawmakers discussed getting rid of the requirement. Indiana Statehouse reporter David Williams learned changes could be on the way,

While those changes won’t impact the more than 815,000 people in Indiana who already have a license to carry a handgun, it would affect those trying to get a permit.

Lawmakers and the public packed the House Chambers Monday to talk gun laws and how you get a gun permit. By a vote of 15-5, a summer committee approved a report months in the making.

“Essentially, the report kind of strikes a middle ground that says we, to the extent that’s possible, should get rid of some of those hurdles and make it a little easier for people to exercise their second amendment right,” said Senator Rodrick Bray of Indiana’s District 37.

Bray said lawmakers heard previous testimony about licensing fees and fingerprint frustrations.

He explained: “There’s only 65 places in the state of Indiana that’ll take electronic fingerprints. So, it’s a little bit inconvenient if you live in a rural county.”

Representative Vanessa Summers of Indiana’s 99th District is one of the lawmakers who voted against the report’s approval.

“We wasted our time.” said Summers, a Democrat. “I think we should have a defined line. I believe that in our city and state we need to have licensing for guns.”

Monday’s meeting brought about a dozen people from Moms Demand Action, a gun violence prevention advocacy group.

Rachel Guglielmo with Moms Demand Action said, “We were really pleased he committee did not recommend the repeal of our permitting system.”

Mark Welter, a Reatail Manager at Indy Arms Co. said he supports and action that makes it easier for Hoosiers to arm themselves.

“Anything we can do to eliminate any obstacles for law abiding citizens to be able to carry a gun to defend themselves, I’m all for it.”

Monday’s committee action is non-binding. Bray stressed the debate is not over, and said there will be bills filed in January with still more debating to be had to find out what the best course is.