Current Indiana law requires residents of the state to obtain a license to carry a handgun on their person or in a vehicle. Carrying a handgun without such a license can lead to misdemeanor weapons crimes, and even includes the possibility of a felony charge if you are carrying a handgun near a school. However, a bill proposed at the start of the newest session for the Indiana House of Representatives seeks to eliminate the handgun license requirement and the accompanying criminal charges.
If you have been charged with a weapons crime, you may be facing serious penalties under Indiana law. An experienced Indianapolis weapons lawyer can make sure your rights are respected throughout the criminal justice process and help you navigate the court system.
Introduction of House Bill 1159
The proposed law addressing firearms regulations in Indiana was authored by Representative Jim Lucas and was introduced on January 9, 2017, as House Bill 1159. Under House Bill 1159 the laws requiring a person to obtain a license to carry a handgun would be repealed. If the handgun licensing laws are repealed citizens in Indiana would be free to carry a handgun unless they have been prohibited from carrying the weapon for another reason, such as a prior domestic battery conviction.
If House Bill 1159 passes Indiana would become the 13th “constitutional carry” state in the United States, a frequently used term describing states that allow the carrying of a handgun without a permit. House Bill 1159 also includes provisions for Indiana residents to obtain a firearms reciprocity license that would allow Indiana residents to legally carry a firearm in another state if that state has entered into an agreement with the State of Indiana.
Handgun License Offenses Would be Eliminated
Current laws in Indiana provide for a number of criminal offenses related to handgun licensing, which would be repealed with the passage of House Bill 1159. An Indiana resident who knowingly or intentionally carries a handgun without a license in violation of the law can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of $5,000. The offense is elevated to a Level 5 felony if it occurs within 500 feet of school property, on a school bus or if the person has been convicted of a felony within 15 years of the date of the offense. The criminal penalties for a Level 5 felony call for a prison term of between one and six years with a fine of up to $10,000. Additionally, the use of a counterfeit or altered license to obtain a handgun is considered a Level 6 felony, with criminal penalties including a prison term of between six months and two and a half years and a fine of up to $10,000.
How an Indianapolis Firearms Attorney Can Help
House Bill 1159 has the potential to eliminate the need for a license when carrying a handgun in Indiana. However, until the law passes and becomes effective it is still a criminal offense to carry a handgun without a license when it is required. The criminal penalties for violating Indiana’s handgun licensing laws are severe, so if you are facing handgun licensing charges you will want an experienced Indianapolis firearms lawyer to defend you.
Attorney Sean Hessler is a knowledgeable Indiana criminal defense lawyer with years of experience handling a wide range of criminal cases, including firearms charges. Let his knowledge and experience help provide you with the best defense possible.