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Ending Indiana gun permits could cost police $3.5 million



INDIANAPOLIS  — Indiana legislators would face coming up with $3.5 million a year for local police agencies if they repeal the state law requiring a permit to carry a handgun in public.

An Indiana House committee heard testimony Wednesday on a bill that would allow any resident to carry a handgun unless for reasons including previous felony convictions, being under a restraining order or having dangerous mental illnesses.

Supporters of the bill argue that requiring gun permits undermine Second Amendment protections and that violent criminals don’t obey the law. Bill sponsor Republican Rep. Ben Smaltz of Auburn said he expected the Legislature would dedicate the $3.5 million in permit applications fees that police and sheriff departments now collect and spend on equipment and training.

Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter and leaders of the state police chiefs association and Indiana Fraternal Order of Police spoke against the proposal, saying it would eliminate a valuable screening tool identifying those who shouldn’t possess handguns.

Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb was noncommittal when asked Wednesday about the proposal that has failed during previous years in the Legislature.

“I’ll be watching it and paying close attention to what does or does not come to my desk and I’ll be very clear when I start to see the bill’s language become a bit clearer as well,” Holcomb said.

The committee could vote next week on whether to advance the proposal to the full House.

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