From: State Rep. Jim Lucas
In a recent letter to the editor, Sheriff Matt Myers inadvertently presented many misrepresentations of HB 1159, or the “constitutional carry” bill that I have presented this legislative session.
To receive a license to carry a handgun, a person must get fingerprinted, fill out forms, pay a substantial fee and wait on the state to issue a LTCH. Indiana is a shall-issue state with no training required, which means that if you are not a prohibited person, you will receive your LTCH. This new law would affect only the lawful person by simply removing the fees and licensing process that the state currently requires of innocent people to exercise a constitutionally protected right. The absence of a license now does not stop a person intent on doing bad things from carrying a handgun, and anyone currently being denied a LTCH would still be prohibited from lawfully carrying when this bill passes.
Myers referenced background checks. To legally purchase a firearm from a licensed gun dealer, a person must submit to a federal background check. To lie on a federal background check, Form 4473, is a federal felony, and a recent Department of Justice report shows that of the 20 million-plus background checks conducted each year for gun purchases, the federal government is averaging 32 prosecutions a year. Think about this and the lack of emphasis the federal government puts on background checks.
Regarding reciprocity, HB 1159 keeps our current licensing system in place as an option for those wishing to travel through other states and grandfathers existing licenses for this purpose. Again, nothing changes with the passage of this bill.
Myers acknowledged our constitutionally protected gun rights but referenced these protections as only for the purchase of a gun. The Second Amendment states, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” The Indiana Constitution states, “The people shall have a right to bear arms, for the defense of themselves and the State.” Bearing arms specifically means to carry, is constitutionally protected and is a totally separate issue from purchasing or getting a gun.
The violence across the nation that Myers referred to is committed by people who have no regard for life or law, and I’ve offered before to present any legislation that someone brings to me that will stop people who have no regard for life or law. Lawful, innocent people are clearly not the problem, as we read all too often of people being arrested yet again for violent crimes, after being released early with multiple prior felony convictions.
With all due respect to Sheriff Myers, I am 100 percent committed to returning the constitutional rights of Hoosiers. To assuage any concerns regarding training, I have also presented a bill that provides a tax credit for completion of a firearms safety course.
Government should be protecting the rights of its citizens, not licensing and infringing them.