Indiana lawmakers OK report on possible changes to gun laws

(WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — 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.

On Monday, state lawmakers discussed getting rid of the requirement — and other changes.

While those changes won’t impact 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 of Representatives chambers Monday to discuss gun laws and how people get gun permits.

By a vote of 15-5, a summer committee approved a report months in the making.

State Sen. Rodrick Bray, a Republican from Martinsville, said, “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.”

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

Bray said, “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.”

State Rep. Vanessa Summers, a Democrat from Indianapolis, is one of the lawmakers who voted against the report’s approval.

“We wasted our time.” Summers said. “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, an advocacy group for gun violence prevention.

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

We stopped by Indy Arms Co., 2550 E. 55th St., to see what they think about the committee’s recommendations. Mark Welter, a retail manager at Indy Arms Co., said, “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.”

It’s important to note Monday’s committee action is nonbinding. Bray said he stresses this debate is not over. He said there will be bills filed in January and there’s still more debating to do to find out the best course.