INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Jan. 6, 2022) – On Wednesday, an Indiana House committee passed a bill that would legalize permitless or “Constitutional Carry” in the state. The enactment of this bill would also foster an environment more hostile to federal gun control.

Rep. Ben Smaltz (R) and Rep. Matthew Lehman (R) introduced House Bill 1077 (HB1077) on Jan 4. Under the proposed law, any adult legally eligible to obtain a concealed carry permit in Indiana would be allowed to carry a concealed firearm without a state-issued license. Under the law, the state’s concealed carry permitting program would remain in place for those wishing to obtain a permit to carry in other states that have CCDW reciprocity with Indiana.

On Jan. 5, the House Public Policy Committee held a hearing on HB1077. Unsurprisingly, police lobbyists came out in opposition to the bill. Indiana State Police Maj. Rob Simpson was one of several law enforcement officers to testify in opposition. He claimed permitless carry would make it harder to find people carrying firearms illegally.

But there was also strong support for the measure.

Corrine Youngs works in the Indiana Attorney General’s Office. She said the proposed law would bring Indiana more in line with other states and would enhance freedom by “removing red tape” in the process of getting a gun.

“Currently there are 21 states that have permitless carry of handguns,” another supporter said during the hearing. “Twenty previously had licensing requirements. Zero have reinstated it.”

Despite law enforcement opposition, the committee passed HB1077 by a 9-3 vote.

EFFECT ON FEDERAL GUN CONTROL

While permitless carry bills do not directly affect federal gun control, the widespread passage of permitless conceal carry laws in states subtly undermines federal efforts to regulate guns. As we’ve seen with marijuana and industrial hemp, a federal regulation becomes ineffective when states ignore it and pass laws encouraging the prohibited activity anyway.

The federal government lacks the enforcement power necessary to maintain its ban, and people will willingly take on the small risk of federal sanctions if they know the state will not interfere. This increases when the state actively encourages “the market.”

Less restrictive state gun laws will likely have a similar impact on federal gun laws. It will make it that much more difficult for the feds to enforce any future federal gun control, and increase the likelihood that states with few limits will simply refuse to cooperate with federal enforcement efforts.

State actions such as passing “constitutional carry” lower barriers for those wanting the option of defending themselves with firearms and encourage a “gun-friendly” environment that would make federal efforts to limit firearms that much more difficult.

WHAT’S NEXT

HB1077 will move to the full House for further consideration. A similar bill passed the House in 2021, but it stalled in the Senate.


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