House Committee Approves Bill To Allow Guns In Churches With Schools On Site
By Andrew Longstreth
INDIANAPOLIS— A House committee passed legislation on Tuesday that permits those with an active firearm license to legally carry a gun in churches when a school is on the property.
House Bill 1643, authored by Rep. Ben Smaltz, R-Auburn, revives legislation that died a year ago in the aftermath of the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Under current Indiana law, firearms are restricted from being brought onto school grounds.
Besides allowing guns in churches with a school on site, the legislation would reduce fees for firearms licenses. Four-year firearms licenses would increase from four to five years and after June 30, 2020, would cost nothing. The lifetime license fee would be $30.
In addition, with each issuance of a hunting, fishing or trapping license applicants will also receive a mail-in voter registration form.
The bill easily passed but not without opposition. One of those against HB 1643 was Rep. Gregory Porter, D-Indianapolis, who in an interview said he was concerned that law enforcement might lose money if the fees are rescinded. Some fees from gun licenses have gone to local law enforcement.
The bill passed 16-6.
FOOTNOTE: Andrew Longstreth is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.