What Permitless Carry in Indiana Really Means
Indiana passed firearm legislation known as the Indiana constitutional carry law in 2022. While the law removes license requirements for gun owners who want to carry their handguns, allowing permitless carry in Indiana, there are also requirements the gun owner must follow.
Despite the Indiana constitutional carry law, it is important to understand the allowances in the bill do not apply to other states, so you must be smart when crossing state lines with a gun. Gun owners should understand that permitless carry is also not a “get out of jail free card.” There are still consequences if you commit a crime with a firearm.
Here, an Indiana gun license lawyer from Keffer Hirschauer LLP explains the new constitutional carry law and what it does and doesn’t mean.
The Law for Permitless Carry in Indiana
On March 21, 2022, Governor Eric Holcomb signed House Bill 1296, allowing permitless carry in Indiana and immediately eliminating the state’s concealed carry permit requirement. With the passing of the law, Indiana joined 21 other permitless carry states.
Effective July 1, 2022, those eligible to purchase a gun no longer need to apply for a license to carry the weapon in Indiana, and current handgun owners with an Indiana license to carry no longer have to take their license with them when carrying a handgun. To take advantage of Indiana constitutional carry allowances, an individual must first be eligible under the law to purchase a gun. To buy a gun in Indiana, you must be 18 years or older and not a felon; amongst other restrictions.
Despite the Indiana constitutional carry law, there are restrictions regarding where you can carry your gun. You must avoid carrying a firearm in these locations:
- School property
- School buses
- Shipping ports
In addition, the new law addresses minors and allows them to possess and shoot guns when supervised at a property owned by the minor’s parent or guardian. Any parent who violates this law can be charged with a crime.
After June 30, 2022, the new law prevents the administrator or officer in charge of approving a gun license from charging a fee for the license. Prior to the passage of the law, the fee for a handgun license ranged from $40 to $50, depending on the term of the license.
However, gun owners are not required to obtain a handgun license to be eligible for permitless carry in Indiana. Simply being eligible to own a gun makes you eligible for Indiana constitutional carry privileges. That being said, it is always advisable to seek a handgun license as it serves as a check to make sure that an individual is otherwise permitted to purchase and possess a handgun.
It is important to understand the constitutional carry law does not apply to all guns. The only type of gun it covers is handguns, not rifles or long guns.
Obtaining a Carry Permit in Other States
Several other states are also permitless carry states. An Indiana resident may be allowed to open or conceal carry a handgun in those states as well if the state has a reciprocity agreement with Indiana. However, under the reciprocity agreement, the individual usually must have a license.
To carry in another state that has a reciprocity agreement with Indiana, an Indiana resident may apply for a license to carry:
- With the chief of police or corresponding law enforcement officer where the Indiana resident lives
- With the sheriff of the county of residence if there is no chief law enforcement officer or the Indiana resident does not live in a municipality
- With the sheriff of the county where their work is located if the applicant is a resident of another state but their place of regular business is in Indiana
The law enforcement officer or administrative officer will know whether the state you are trying to receive a permit to carry in has a reciprocity agreement. An experienced Indiana gun license lawyer will also know which states honor Indiana constitutional carry rights and can help you navigate the process.
Safe Passage for Transporting Guns across State Lines
Transporting your gun across state lines is also regulated by federal law, which regulates transportation between states. This safe passage law offers protection for those traveling to other permitless carry states who have to pass through non-carry states.
To receive protection under Lawful Interstate Transportation of Firearms Act, you must comply with three requirements. First, the firearm must remain unloaded and locked, with the ammunition in the trunk or another container not immediately accessible, not including the glove box or center console.
Second, your trip must begin in a state where possession of the firearm is legal, and you must end in another legal state. If the state you end up in requires a license, the safe passage provisions will not protect you.
Finally, you must be traveling, a factor that has yet to be defined by the courts. As such, it is important to take all necessary precautions and travel expediently through states and areas with more strict firearm regulations. If you are planning to travel with your firearm outside of Indiana, contact an Indiana gun license lawyer for a consultation on whether this law may provide protection to you.
Penalties for Permitless Carry in Indiana
Although there is no requirement to have a carry permit, you can still be charged with a crime if you are carrying a concealed weapon but not eligible for permitless carry in Indiana. Following are some of the individuals who could be charged with unlawful carrying of a handgun as a Class A misdemeanor under the new law if they are caught carrying a gun in Indiana:
- Undocumented immigrants
- Persons under indictment
- Persons subject to a restraining order
- Anyone adjudicated as dangerous, mentally defective, or previously committed to a mental institution
- Former military with a dishonorable discharge
Class A misdemeanors in Indiana carry a penalty of up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000. Additionally, an individual with a prior conviction for carrying a handgun without a license or for any felony within 15 years before the date of the offense may be charged with a Level 5 felony.
In addition to limitations on who is allowed permitless carry in Indiana, the state also restricts where you can bring a gun. Carrying a handgun in the following places results in a Level 5 felony:
- In or on school property
- Within 500 feet of a school
- On a school bus
A Level 5 felony in Indiana can result in a sentence of one to six years in prison and a fine of as high as $10,000.00.
The consequences of a conviction for carrying a handgun without a license can impact your gun rights for years to come. Should you face a charge for unlawful possession of a handgun in Indiana, contact an Indiana gun license lawyer at Keffer Hirschauer LLP as soon as possible to help you defend your rights.
Permitless Carry in Indiana and Gun Crimes
Qualifying for gun ownership and permitless carry in Indiana gives you the right to own and carry a handgun. However, if you commit a crime with a firearm, not only may you be charged with the crime, but the following crimes carry heavier penalties when a handgun is involved:
- Murder under Indiana Code § 35-42-1-1
- Sexual assault under Indiana Code chapter 35-42-4
- Robbery under Indiana Code chapter 35-42-5
- Domestic assault under Indiana Code § 35-42-2-1.3
The court in Indiana can add five to 20 years to the sentence when a handgun is used in the following crimes:
- A felony resulting in serious bodily injury or death
- Level 2 or Level 3 felony criminal confinement
In addition to the potential prison sentence and fines, those convicted of a gun crime also suffer consequences in other aspects of their life. They must report the felony on a job application if asked, and they could lose their eligibility to live in subsidized housing. It can even have an adverse effect on child custody and immigration matters.
Lastly, you could potentially lose your rights to own or possess a gun, thus making you ineligible for Indiana constitutional carry privileges in the future.
Recourse for Those Denied Gun Rights
Under the new permitless carry law, gun owners are no longer required to carry a license as police are not allowed to ask for one. However, this does not mean gun owners will not have their gun rights challenged. You may face challenges in just purchasing a handgun or other firearm. If you have been wrongfully denied your right to purchase—or carry—a handgun.
Should you lose your gun rights due to a conviction, you may be able to restore them. Depending on the type of crime you were convicted of, the process will look slightly different. Sometimes, seeking an expungement of your criminal records can help restore your right to possess or carry a firearm. You must wait five years after certain misdemeanor convictions and eight years after certain felony convictions before seeking an expungement of the crimes. In other cases, such as a conviction for domestic battery, you must petition the court to restore your right to possess a gun.
Should you face any problems associated with the Indiana constitution carry law or other gun rights, an experienced Indiana gun license lawyer can investigate why your rights were denied and help you hold the defendants liable.
An Indiana Gun License Lawyer to Protect Your Rights
An experienced Indiana gun license lawyer can help you understand the gun rights laws in Indiana, take steps to obtain the right to carry in another state, or help if you run into trouble with the law regarding gun rights. The gun rights lawyers at Keffer Hirschauer LLP have experience protecting constitutional rights as well as deep litigation skills. For a free consultation or more information on permitless carry in Indiana, contact us by calling (317) 857-0160 or complete our online contact form.