Letter: Gun permits needed in Indiana

Elkhart Truth

Law enforcement in our state is tasked with keeping Hoosiers as safe as possible. So, it made sense a move to strip the state’s handgun permit laws last year elicited a strong rebuke from officers.

Of course, there was the financial cost of getting rid of such permits. The state cleared more than $9 million in fees in 2016 alone. More than 800,000 Hoosiers have permits, with a new lifetime personal protection permit costing $75, according to CNHI Statehouse reporter Scott L. Miley.

But, that’s not reason enough to keep the current permitting system. And after the middle school shooting in Noblesville last week, it’s a good time to remind readers and lawmakers why Hoosier gun owners still must register.

There’s accountability and security to consider. Permit-holders must register online with the state and turn in their fingerprints.

Representatives of police organizations last summer told a joint Senate and House Judiciary and Public Policy Committee to keep the handgun licensing system. At the time, the committee was addressing whether Hoosiers should be able to carry a handgun, either concealed or openly, without a license. Such an allowance, known as constitutional carry or freedom to carry, is in 12 states, although each has separate requirements concerning identification.

Second Amendment absolutists argue any restrictions on a constitutional right are wrong, but support of sensible gun safety measures shouldn’t be a partisan issue. (Unsurprisingly, National Rifle Association state representative Chris Kopacki spoke in favor of the repeal.) When it comes to tearing down such prohibitions, these hard-liners don’t ask why they were instituted in the first place, but why we should keep them at all.

No one is saying Hoosiers can’t have handguns. No one was saying it last year. And, in the case of removing the state’s handgun permit laws, no one was even proposing more restrictions than are currently in place.

Let’s keep what we have. That’s all.