Can You Carry a Handgun Without a License in Indiana?
Yes. Effective July 1, 2022, most people can carry a handgun without a license in Indiana. However, people who are considered to be a “prohibited person,” per Indiana Code 35-47-2-1.5, or not considered to be a “proper person” under Indiana Code 35-47-1-7, cannot legally carry a firearm within the state of Indiana. To better understand whether you are able to carry a handgun without a license in Indiana, you should either speak with an Indiana gun license attorney or apply for a state-issued handgun permit online.
If you’d like to better understand your gun rights in Indiana, an Indiana handgun license lawyer at Keffer Hirschauer LLP are available to speak with you. We can explain your rights and how they fit within the parameters of Indian gun laws and answer any questions you may have about your ability to buy, possess, or carry a handgun without a license in Indiana. Call us today at 317-857-0160 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.
Legal History of Constitutional Carry
In the United States, constitutional carry refers to the legal act of carrying a handgun (openly or concealed) without the requirement of a license or permit to do so. This legal concept is called constitutional carry because it reflects the belief that the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution places no restrictions on gun rights, including the right to carry a handgun.
The Supreme Court affirmed this view first in the 2008 case of District of Columbia v. Heller, and then again in its 2010 decision in Mcdonald v. Chicago. The latter held that both the 2nd and 14th amendments of the United States Constitution were “fully incorporated,” and therefore the right for American citizens to possess and carry firearms applies to the states in a fully applicable manner. This decision ultimately limited state and local governments’ ability to enact laws restricting citizens’ fundamental right to “keep and bear arms,” for purposes of self-defense.
In June of 2022, the Supreme Court’s decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc v. Bruen took this concept one step further by affirming American citizens’ right to publicly carry firearms. Furthermore, the Court imposed a new, strict standard of scrutiny on state-level firearm laws.
Following the 2008 Supreme Court decision in Heller, dozens of states enacted constitutional carry laws. Indiana, however, did not enact such a law until July 2022 with the signing of HEA 1296, becoming the 24th state to institute constitutional carry.
Indiana Law on Handgun Licensure and Legal Carry
Prior to July 1, 2022, if someone wanted to carry a handgun in Indiana, they were required to possess either an Indiana carry or concealed carry permit. However, with the passage of the new Indiana Constitutional Carry Law, most people are now able to carry a handgun without a license in Indiana. So, generally speaking, if you’re eligible to purchase or possess a gun in Indiana, you no longer need to apply for a license to carry that gun, provided that you are over the age of 18 and are not considered a “prohibited person” under Indiana Code 35-47-2-1.5 and are considered a “proper person” under Indiana Code 35-47-1-7.
In Indiana, a prohibited person is someone who:
- Has been convicted of a state or federal offense punishable by a term of imprisonment exceeding one (1) year
- Has been convicted of a crime of domestic violence (Indiana Code 35-31.5-2-78), domestic battery (Indiana Code 35-42-2-1.3) or criminal stalking (Indiana Code 35-45-10-5) (and firearms rights NOT restored)
- Is restrained by a protection order issued under Indiana Code 34-26-5 (does not include workplace violence orders)
- Is a fugitive from justice
- Is under Indictment (felony charges filed by a prosecutor)
- Has been adjudicated dangerous under Indiana Code 35-47-14-6;
- Has been adjudicated a mental defective;
- Has been committed to a mental institution
- Has been dishonorably discharged from military service or the National Guard.
- Renounces the person’s United States citizenship in the manner described in 8 U.S.C. 1481
- Is less than eighteen (18) years of age, unless authorized under Indiana Code 35-47-10
- Is less than twenty-three (23) years of age and has an adjudication as a delinquent child for an act described by Indiana Code 35-47-4-5, unless authorized under IC 35-47-10;
- An alien
In Indiana, a proper person is someone who:
- Has not been convicted for resisting law enforcement in the preceding five years
- Has not been convicted for an offense punishable by incarceration for more than one year
- Has not been convicted for domestic violence (unless firearm rights were later restored by court order)
- Has not been convicted for any crime involving an inability to safely handle a handgun
- Does not have a record of alcohol or drug abuse
- Whom there is no documented evidence establishing a propensity for violence or emotional instability
- Whom there is no evidence of providing false information on a firearm license application
- Does not have an adjudication of juvenile delinquency for an offense that would have been a felony if committed by an adult if the individual is less then 23 years old
- History of involuntary commitment other than for temporary evaluation or observation
- Does not have an adjudication of mentally incompetent
- Does not have an adjudication as dangerous in a proceeding under Indiana Code 35-47-14-6 for firearm seizure and retention
- Does not have a court order against them prohibiting them from possessing a handgun
In addition, federal gun laws impose a handful of requirements and restrictions which override one’s ability to carry a handgun without a license in Indiana. This includes a federal restriction on a felon’s ability to purchase a firearm.
If you’d like to check your eligibility to purchase and carry a firearm, we recommend you go through the process of obtaining a state-issued handgun permit. This process is free, the application is straightforward and, ultimately, it would compel the Indiana State Police to run a free background check on you to ensure compliance with Indiana Code 35-47-2-1.5 and Indiana Code 35-47-1-7.
Limits To Constitutional Carry in Indiana
Although Hoosiers can legally carry a handgun without a license in Indiana, there are some limitations to the law. For example, you can’t carry a handgun on school property, school buses, aircraft, airports, or shipping ports. Indiana’s new constitutional carry law also allows private businesses to prohibit patrons and visitors from carrying a firearm on business property. Additionally, cities, counties, and towns within the state of Indiana can restrict citizens’ ability to carry a handgun in any building that contains a courtroom.
Restoring One’s Right to Legally Carry a Handgun without a License in Indiana
Even though you may be able to legally carry a handgun without a license in Indiana, the law still bars individuals not deemed a proper person from buying or possessing a gun, in general. For those who don’t meet the Indiana standard of proper person, recourse to reinstate the right to carry a gun may be available.
For example, one of the most common reasons that someone is not deemed a proper person is having a criminal conviction on their record. In situations like these, felony expungement in Indiana may be able to restore the person’s right to possess and carry a gun.
Those who have been convicted of domestic battery cannot pursue the expungement route, and instead need to petition the court to restore their gun rights. To do so, they’ll need to wait five years from the date of their conviction to file their petition. The court does, however, have rather broad discretion when restoring gun rights to someone whose been convicted of domestic violence. When considering a petition, the judge will consider the following factors:
- Status of any court order against the person, including restraining, no contact, and protective orders
- Whether the person presents a threat to the subject of their domestic violence crime
- Any reasons as to why the person should not possess a firearm
While you may be tempted to petition for an expungement in Indiana or to file a petition to the court on your own, it’s highly recommended that you speak with an attorney first. The Indiana criminal defense attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer LLP routinely assist clients by answering common questions about expungement, evaluating expungement eligibility, and ultimately, guiding them through the expungement process. We also understand the Indiana justice system and courts, inside and out, and can help you correctly file a petition to restore your gun rights in Indiana.
Not Sure if You Can Legally Carry a Handgun without a License in Indiana?
If you’re uncertain about your status as either a proper or prohibited person, then you’ll want to consult with an Indiana handgun attorney as soon as possible. To speak with one today, call the Law Office of Keffer Hirschauer LLP at 317-857-0160 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation. Our Indiana handgun attorneys have both the experience and the knowledge required to help you navigate any issue you may face regarding your constitutional right to own and carry a firearm.