Hoosiers will no longer have to get a permit to carry a handgun in public, starting July 1. That’s after Gov. Eric Holcomb signed the so-called “permitless carry” bill, HEA 1296, into law Monday.
In a statement, Holcomb defended his decision by expressing his “[full] support” for the Second Amendment and noting that 23 other states have some version of a permitless carry policy. He also says people currently barred from carrying in public will still be barred from carrying in public after the law takes effect.
Yet the Indiana State Police testified that thousands of people each year had their carry permit applications denied. Opponents of the bill question how those people will know they’re not allowed to carry in public once the permits are no longer required.
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In a statement accompanying Holcomb’s, State Police Superintendent Doug Carter pledged to "work towards solutions" enacting the law and "make necessary changes to firearms enforcement."
A few weeks ago, Carter sharply criticized Republicans pushing the law, telling them their support of permitless carry meant they don’t support law enforcement. There was no mention of that sentiment in Carter’s latest statement.
Echoing Carter's comments to the legislature, Indiana Democratic Party Chair Mike Schmuhl said Holcomb's decision put politics ahead of public safety.
"Rising crime rates will now fall directly on the Indiana Republican Party’s shoulders, because buying firearms will be like buying candy at a gas station," Schmuhl said in a statement.
The permitless carry bill does not affect the purchase of guns. It only affects how people carry handguns in public.