House Bill 1077 would allow anyone 18 or older to carry a handgun without a permit

STATEHOUSEHouse Bill 1077, will allow anyone age 18 or older to carry a handgun without a permit except for reasons such as having a felony conviction or having a dangerous mental illness.

The bill passed the Indiana House Tuesday in a 64 to 29 vote. The bill now heads to the equally Republican-controlled Senate. If signed into law, Indiana would join 21 other states which allow gun owners to carry firearms without a permit.

This isn’t the first time though that a “Constitutional Carry” bill has been proposed. Last year, a similar bill died in a Senate committee after Senate Judiciary Chair Liz Brown refused to schedule a hearing on the bill.

Opponents say there should be a vetting process by law enforcement. Supporters argue the permit requirement undermines Second Amendment protections by forcing law-abiding citizens to undergo police background checks.

Jody Madeira, professor of law at Indiana University

Among those testifying against the bill, last year was Jody Madeira, professor of law at Indiana University in Bloomington, whose areas of expertise include the Second Amendment. Madeira warned that removing the licensing requirement might increase the risk of threatening behavior and accidental shootings.

Hamilton County Sheriff Dennis Quakenbush

“This right is a God-given natural right, not one given by the government. The government should not be your plan for self-defense. It’s your responsibility to protect yourself, your families, your loved ones as well as your neighbors,” said Hamilton County Sheriff Dennis Quakenbush, who supports the bill.

Supporters are concerned the bill could be assigned to the same committee as last year – and die.

“Our sources inside the capitol are reporting that Senate President Pro. Temp. Rodric Bray plans to send Constitutional Carry back to the Senate Judiciary Committee where Senator Brown killed the bill last year. But we all know Senator Bray has the power to send House Bill 1077 to any committee, at any time. If Bray chooses to send the bill back to a ‘kill committee’ where it died last year, we can only assume his goal is to derail Constitutional Carry during this legislative session.” said Will Fite, legislative director of Hoosier Gun Rights, told WTHR.