A Look at Indiana’s Most Commonly Charged Gun Crimes

Typical Handgun Offenses and Crimes in Indiana

Most people who carry a handgun, both legally and illegally for that matter, seldom realize the number of laws specifically written to address the use, operation, and possession of them. In fact, many who own a firearm think that so long as they have a permit, they can take that gun anywhere they want — the reality, however, is much different.

This blog will address the most commonly charged handgun charges in Indiana. For another good source of information, click here.

DEFINITION OF “HANDGUN:”

I.C. 35-47-1-6 states that a handgun is any firearm that is “designed or adapted” to be aimed and fired using only one hand regardless of the length of the barrel; or, a firearm with a barrel less than sixteen (16) inches long or an overall length less than twenty-six (26) inches.

CARRYING OR POSSESSING A HANDGUN WITHOUT A LICENSE:

This is by far the most common of handgun arrests. Despite what most politicians think, there are a huge number of people who possess handguns WITHOUT licenses. To obtain a valid license, read I.C. 35-47-2-3, or click here.

Whether it’s for protection or collection, many neglect to obtain a license. However, the law doesn’t require a license in every single situation.

I.C. 35-47-2-1 states that it is a Class-A Misdemeanor to possess and/or carry a handgun without a license (whether willfully or the license was revoked) on your person or in a vehicle, unless:

  1. The gun is owned, leased, rented, or controlled by another person
  2. The gun is on the property of another person and you possess it with their consent, the property is being used for a firearms related event, and/or the person carrying the gun is on the property to receive instruction on using the firearm.
  3. The gun is in that person’s vehicle(or that of another with consent), but is unloaded, not easily accessible, and secured in a case.
  4. The gun is being possessed at a shooting range, instructional course, or while hunting.

Furthermore, under I.C. 35-47-4-6, a person who has been convicted of domestic battery under I.C. 35-42-2-1.3, cannot possess a firearm. Additionally, if a civil no contact or protective order has been issued against you as well, your ability to possess and transport firearms is limited during that two year period.

There are a few people exempted from this statute, but most are involved in law enforcement or military services of some type.

PROHIBITED SALES / TRANSFER OF OWNERSHIP OF A HANDGUN:

I.C. 35-47-2-7 states that with few exceptions, a person commits a Level 5 Felony if they sell, give, or transfer ownership of a handgun or assault weapon to: (1) any person under eighteen (18), (2) a person the seller reasonably believes is a convicted felon, drug and/or alcohol abuser, and/or (3) someone they reasonably should know is mentally incompetent.

GIVING FALSE INFORMATION & OBLITERATING IDENTIFICATION MARKS:

I.C. 35-47-2-17 states that when purchasing and/or applying for a handgun, if a person knowingly or intentionally gives false information or evidence, that person has committed a Level 5 Felony.

I.C. 35-47-2-18 states that if a person attempts to “change, alter, remove, or obliterate the name of the maker, model, manufacturer’s serial number, or other marks of identification,” or knowingly possesses a gun that such identifiers have been altered, commits a Level 5 Felony.

POSSESSION OF A FIREARM ON SCHOOL GROUNDS:

A person who possesses a handgun illegally, as defined in I.C. 35-47-2-1, on school grounds, within five hundred (500) feet of a school or on a school bus has committed a Level 5 Felony.

POINTING A FIREARM AT ANOTHER PERSON:

I.C. 35-47-4-3 legislates that other than police officers, anyone who knowingly or intentionally points loaded firearm at another person commits a Level 6 Felony. If the gun is unloaded, the crime is lowered to a Class-A Misdemeanor.

POSSESSION OF A HANDGUN BY A SERIOUS VIOLENT FELON:

I.C. 35-47-4-5 defines a serious violent as anyone who has been convicted of committing or attempting to commit a serious violent felony. Furthermore, any serious violent felon who knowingly or intentionally possesses a firearm commits a Level 4 Felony.

To read more about what a serious violent felon is and/or what crimes qualify, read our blog on serious violent felons here.

POSSESSION OF A HANDGUN AT AN AIRPORT OR ON AN AIRPLANE:

As people travel more and more, the legislature realized there was an additional need to address the ability of traveling patrons to possess and/or transport firearms. As such, I.C. 35-47-6 was drafted into law.

  • ON BOARD AN AIRPLANE: I.C. 35-47-6-1 states that it is a Level 5 Felony to board a commercial airplane with a firearm, explosive, or deadly weapon.
  • UNDISCLOSED TRANSPORT OF DANGEROUS DEVICE: I.C. 35-47-6-1.1 states that if a person checks baggage to be transported on a commercial airline knowing the baggage possesses a firearm, destructive device, or weapon of mass destruction, commits a Class-A Misdemeanor.
  • FIREARM POSSESSION IN AN AIRPORT: I.C. 35-47-6-1.3 states that any person who knowingly or intentionally enters an inspection area of an airport with a firearm, explosive, or any other deadly weapon, commits a Class A-Misdemeanor. Unfortunately, those who have a valid license to carry a firearm often forget to remove the gun from their holster, to disclose the firearm, and validly check it as such when checking in their luggage. As such, many innocent people get charged with this offense without even knowing it was an issue.

As anyone can see by the vast number of statutes on the issue, Indiana’s legislature has decided that gun-related crimes are a priority. So, if you or a loved one is facing a gun-related charge, it’s essential that you hire an attorney that understands all of Indiana’s gun laws, what the possible penalties can be for each, and have the experience to defend you against them. As former prosecutors, the attorneys at Banks & Brower have the knowledge you need to help you through this difficult situation.

Give the experienced Indianapolis Criminal Defense Attorneys at Banks & Brower a call today. Our number is (317) 870-0019. We answer our phones 24/7/365. Or, shoot us an e-mail today at info@banksbrower.com.