Firearms bill dead, but Indiana legislators likely to revive it

February 26, 2019

INDIANAPOLIS - The Indiana House killed a firearms bill Monday but there are already plans to revive the language in the second half of the legislative session.

Rep. Ben Smaltz, R-Auburn - the author of House Bill 1643 - said there was a problem with the definition of school property in the bill that conflicted with definitions elsewhere in the code.

So instead of forcing it through he decided not to call the bill and work it into another gun-related bill in the coming weeks. Tuesday was the third-reading deadline in the House so there was no time to fix the problem.

Part of the bill would have affected schools that share property with a church. Currently, parishioners can’t carry guns when attending services - even if church officials say it’s OK - because of the school.

The legislation would have allowed property owners to determine whether guns are allowed in limited circumstances.

Also in the bill, the four-year firearms permit would have expanded to five years and Hoosiers would go under a more stringent initial background check. Lawmakers believe this would exempt Indiana federally from any background checks during the five-year period when purchasing from a gun dealer.

The cost of that license also would have dropped - costing the state more than half a million in fees.