INDIANA — A touchy issue that has caused debating and division nationwide is that of gun violence and whether or not more government restrictions are needed to address the violence. Some feel the restrictions don’t go far enough while others fear the ultimate goal is to take firearms out of the hands of everyone, even if they obey laws and are not convicted felons.
President Obama’s executive orders bypassing Congress issued Tuesday, Jan. 5, have stirred the debating even more. Background checks will now be required for guns purchased from dealers even if bought online or at gun shows. In addition, the Justice Department’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives will issue updated guidance saying the government can consider someone a gun dealer regardless of where the guns are sold and the dealer must get a license and conduct background checks.
More funding will be provided for mental health treatment (though Congressional approval will be required), the FBI will hire more examiners to process background checks (and make the system more efficient) and more Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents will be hired.
Some Republican members of Congress have been critical of Obama’s executive actions, saying they go too far and are too restrictive. Nonetheless the president has made gun control more of a priority on his agenda especially after shooting incidents in Oregon and California within the last few months of 2015.
Indiana Gun Laws
In Indiana retail handgun dealers are required to obtain a state license and those convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor are prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms.
A state permit is required to carry a handgun, but not a long gun. Concealed carry licenses are also issued for handguns, but not long guns. Indiana is also an open carry state, meaning some may carry a weapon openly with a license. The IN.gov website does say carrying an exposed firearm in public may be alarming to some and create unnecessary and unwanted attention.
But Indiana does not require a background check prior to the transfer of firearms between private parties. Nor is a firearms owner license required or the registration of firearms.
There is no waiting period imposed on firearm purchases and there are no regulations against unsafe handguns.
It is illegal, however, to carry a concealed weapon, even sporting arms, on school property or on a school bus. Lawful gun owners may have guns in their vehicles on school property as long as the gun is stored out of plain sight in the person’s locked vehicle or the driver is only transporting someone to, or from, a school event.
Both state and federal laws restrict purchase and possession of firearms under certain circumstances. In addition to the domestic violence misdemeanor already mentioned, those convicted of felonies are restricted. It should be noted Indiana law does not ban someone convicted of a non-violent felony from possessing a firearm, but federal law does and that person would be unable to purchase a firearm since it is subject to federal law.
Indiana law does not require a person to disclose the possession of a firearm upon contact with law enforcement, but is recommended to do so as a precaution. And Indiana honors handgun licenses from all other states, but not all of the other states honor Indiana’s license.