(Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter said eliminating handgun licenses could have "devastating consequences." Credit: Lauren Chapman/IPB News)
Indiana law enforcement groups are on both sides of a debate over legislation that would no longer require Hoosiers to get a handgun license.
The process to get a handgun license typically takes just a few days. Hoosiers must complete an application, get fingerprinted and visit their local police agency.
During that, law enforcement completes a thorough background check. They look for, among other things, whether the person has a domestic violence conviction, any record of abusing drugs or alcohol and whether they've been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility.
The process has taken much longer during the COVID-19 pandemic, as much as a few months.
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Yet Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter said the burden of waiting to legally carry a handgun in public is outweighed by the importance of those licenses to police.
“Your kids and mine, in your communities – please don’t put them in jeopardy,” Carter said.
Carter said frontline police don't have any other way to check whether a person is lawfully allowed to carry a handgun without the licensing system.
But Hamilton County Sheriff Dennis Quakenbush said nothing should get in the way of individual citizens defending themselves.
“The government should not be your plan A for protection or self-defense," Quakenbush said. "The government is not our savior.”
A House committee took testimony but did not vote on the bill Wednesday. The deadline for it to do so is next Tuesday.