Ways And Means Clears Permitless Carry Bill, Passes ToThe House Floor
By Carolina Puga Mendoza
INDIANAPOLIS—The House Ways and Means Committee cleared its handgun license bill and passed it to the full House Tuesday.
House Bill 1369, which removes the requirement of a license to legally carry a gun, passed to the House in a 15-7 vote after being amended.
Rep. Ed DeLaney, D-Indianapolis, and Rep. Ben Smaltz, R-Auburn, got into a heated debate as to how funds will be managed if license fees are taken away as well as about the budget for a database of those for whom it’s unlawful to carry.
“So some cynic might say that, to some extent, this bill defunds our police,” DeLaney said.
Smaltz argued that the Indiana State Police and law enforcement agencies will not lose money but instead will make revenue from the reciprocity license fees. The lifetime license fees are $75 and this allows gun carriers to bear arms across states. But the ISP will lose an average of $5.3 million by canceling the gun licenses altogether.
“I think a distinction is one is a constitutional right and one is a privilege,” Smaltz said.
Further analysis of the budget, led by Rep. Cherrish Pryor, D-Indianapolis, and Rep. Peggy Mayfield, R-Martinsville, means that the money that the ISP will lose from license fees will be restored from the general funds. The amendment for the budget will be created for the second reading.
Smaltz said he is working with the state police and the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to make a timeline and a budget to create the database of individuals who are prohibited from carrying a gun.
DeLaney said he is wary of HB 1369 because the current licensing system has been in place for the past 40 years.
“We’re gonna give it up without knowing whether we can do this new thing or not?” DeLaney said. “I will not vote for anything that defunds even the local police.”
FOOTNOTE: Carolina Puga Mendoza is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.