Due to the unbelievable amount of misunderstanding and misinformation being spread about my upcoming “Constitutional Carry” legislation, I feel it necessary to spell out the actual facts.

Indiana’s handgun licensing is “shall issue” and requires no training, with an option for a one-time purchase of a lifetime license. To receive this License To Carry Handgun (LTCH), a person must be fingerprinted, fill out forms, pay a fee and wait several weeks to months to receive a LTCH. As long as a person is not prohibited from having a firearm — such as a convicted felon, domestic batterer — they will receive their LTCH. This means that the state is fundamentally forcing innocent people to jump through unnecessary hoops, pay the state a substantial fee and wait several weeks to prove their innocence and receive permission to exercise a constitutionally protected right.

This is wrong.

My bill will simply make it optional for innocent, non-prohibited people, who were going to get their LTCH anyway, to bypass the bureaucracy and lawfully carry a firearm in Indiana. To deal with reciprocity with other states, it is crafted to keep our current licensing system — shall issue, no training requirement and lifetime option — in place as an option for those that still wish to maintain a license for reciprocity. People who are prohibited from carrying a firearm and currently would not receive their LTCH would still be prohibited from carrying a firearm and would still be committing a major felony if they do so.

It’s that simple.

One of the myths is that this bill will endanger the lives of police officers. This is false, as one does not need a LTCH to purchase a handgun in Indiana and there is no way to “track” a firearm with our LTCH system. A check on possession for a LTCH only tells the officer that that individual went through the bureaucratic process of getting a license and not what is in their hearts or what their intentions are. Many mass shooters have passed background checks and these processes only prove the danger and weakness of believing a system of paperwork will stop evil.

Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry has relayed probably the most egregious misinformation about this bill. Gun laws only endanger those that follow laws and these innocent people are made easy, defenseless victims for those that don’t follow laws. How many of the gun homicides committed in Mr. Curry’s jurisdiction are committed by people that follow the law and actually have a LTCH?

As a citizen, I wonder why Mr. Curry’s office pleads down or dismisses over half of the gun crimes committed in his jurisdiction, and as a legislator I am curious why he does not use more of the tools the Indiana General Assembly has provided him with to deal with gun crimes. We have a multitude of already existing laws that make gun crimes a serious felony and have a recently passed a law that allows for an additional 5 to 20 years sentencing enhancement to be applied for certain gun crimes. But, how often do we read about people being arrested in these situations that have multiple prior felony convictions? As a matter of fact, the overwhelming majority of those arrested for gun homicides in Marion County have a high average of multiple prior felony convictions, proving that gun crime is nothing more than a revolving door of repeat offenders that should have been behind bars.

I believe we should focus on keeping the bad guys behind bars instead of criminalizing and infringing the rights of innocent people.

Jim Lucas is a member of the Indiana House of Representatives and serves residents of District 69, whichincludes parts of Bartholomew, Jennings, Jackson and Jefferson counties. Send comments to editorial@therepublic.com.