(La Porte County, IN) - A local law enforcement official fears an increase in gun violence if gun owners in Indiana are no longer required to have a permit.
Indiana House Bill 1077, a bill to end handgun carry permits, is now before the Indiana Senate after recently passing the Indiana House by more than a 2-to-1 margin. Local Representative Jim Pressel (R-Rolling Prairie) voted for the bill, while Representative Pat Boy (D-Michigan City) voted against it.
La Porte County Sheriff John Boyd said requiring a permit creates a system used by police to get illegal guns off the streets and out of the hands of people with a greater chance of committing violent acts.
For example, during a traffic stop, Boyd said a records check to determine if the driver or passenger has a permit to carry a gun or if the firearm has been reported stolen can be done quickly.
The bill prohibits convicted felons and people with serious mental health issues from having a gun, but removing the checks and balances of applying for a permit concerns law enforcement agencies around the state. For example, without requiring a permit, Boyd said police officers would have access to another system to determine if a person with a gun has a felony record or history of mental illness.
However, Boyd said that the system is more time-consuming than a permit check, and people can only be held constitutionally for so long before they must be released. Boyd is afraid some people with their guns will be released from the jail before the records check results come in, potentially endangering more citizens. Police would then face the prospects of locating the person, which could be problematic.
“If we track them down, it’s going to be very difficult to find that gun,” Boyd said.
Boyd said he’s also concerned there will be an increase in gun violence if the bill is adopted.