INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Jan. 11, 2022) – Today, the Indiana House passed a bill that would legalize permitless or “Constitutional Carry” in the state despite fierce law enforcement opposition. 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 person 18 or older legally able to carry a handgun in Indiana would be allowed to carry a concealed firearm without a state-issued license. Individuals with felony convictions or under a restraining order would still be prohibited from carrying a firearm.
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. 11, the House passed HB1077 by a 63-29 vote.
During the House Public Policy Committee hearing on the bill, several police lobbyists came testified against the measure. 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.
Rep. Mitch Gore (D-Indianapolis) also serves as a captain with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office. During the House floor debate, he said, “Law enforcement generally is opposed to the bill.”
The House passed a similar bill during the 2021 legislative session, but it died in the Senate.
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.
HB1077 will now move to the Senate for further consideration. At the time of this report, it had not been referred to a committee. Once it receives a committee assignment, it must get a hearing and then pass by a majority vote before moving forward in the legislative process.