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House Committee Debates Bill To Eliminate Indiana Handgun Licenses

Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter said eliminating handgun licenses could have "devastating consequences."

Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter said eliminating handgun licenses could have "devastating consequences." (Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

Indiana law enforcement groups are on both sides of a debate over legislation that would no longer require Hoosiers to get a handgun license.

The process to get a handgun license typically takes just a few days. Hoosiers must complete an application, get fingerprinted and visit their local police agency.

During that, law enforcement completes a thorough background check. They look for, among other things, whether the person has a domestic violence conviction, any record of abusing drugs or alcohol and whether they've been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility.

The process has taken much longer during the COVID-19 pandemic, as much as a few months.

READ MORE: How Do I Follow Indiana's Legislative Session? Here's Your Guide To Demystify The Process

Yet Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter said the burden of waiting to legally carry a handgun in public is outweighed by the importance of those licenses to police.

“Your kids and mine, in your communities – please don’t put them in jeopardy,” Carter said.

Carter said frontline police don't have any other way to check whether a person is lawfully allowed to carry a handgun without the licensing system.

But Hamilton County Sheriff Dennis Quakenbush said nothing should get in the way of individual citizens defending themselves.

“The government should not be your plan A for protection or self-defense," Quakenbush said. "The government is not our savior.”

A House committee took testimony but did not vote on the bill Wednesday. The deadline for it to do so is next Tuesday.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

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