House Bill 1296 – Is it now Legal to Carry a Handgun in Indiana without a Permit?

On March 21, 2022, Governor Holcomb signed into law House Bill 1296, which allows individuals to carry a handgun in public without a permit in Indiana.  This law will take effect on July 1, 2022.  Prior to this law, individuals in Indiana were prohibited from carrying a handgun on their person or in their vehicle without having a valid handgun license.

The amended statute governing the carrying of a firearm in Indiana is found under IC 35-47-2-3.  It reads in a part as follows:

“A person who is at least 18 years of age and is not otherwise prohibited from carrying or possessing a handgun under state or federal law is not required to obtain or possess a license or permit from the state to carry a handgun in Indiana…”

In plain language, anyone in Indiana can now carry a handgun on their person or in their vehicle unless they are otherwise prohibited from doing so.  What does “otherwise prohibited from doing so” mean?  A new statute has been added to the criminal code under IC 35-47-2-1.5 to provide the answer.  Subsection (b) of this statute sets out the list for those that may not carry a firearm in Indiana.  That list includes:

  • A person convicted of a federal or state offense punishable by a term of imprisonment exceeding one year.
  • A fugitive from justice.
  • A person that is not lawfully in the United States.
  • A person convicted of a crime of domestic violence, domestic battery, or criminal stalking.
  • A person restrained by an order of protection issued under IC 34-26-5.
  • A person under indictment.
  • A person who has been:
    • Adjudicated dangerous under IC 35-47-14-6;
    • Adjudicated mentally defective; or
    • Committed to a mental institution.
  • A person dishonorably discharged from military service or the National Guard.
  • A person who renounces the person’s United States citizenship in the manner described in 8 U.S.C. 1481.
  • A person who is less than:
    • Eighteen years of age; or
    • Twenty-three years of age and has an adjudication for a delinquent act described by IC 35-47-4-5;

If any of these individuals are found to have knowingly possessed a firearm on their person or in their vehicle, they will be charged with unlawful carrying of a handgun, a class A misdemeanor.  The offense becomes a Level 5 felony if it is committed on or in school property, within 500 feet of a school, or on a school bus.  The offense is also a level 5 felony if the individual has a prior conviction for unlawful possession of a handgun, a conviction for carrying a handgun without a license (before that statute’s repeal), or a conviction for a felony within fifteen years before the date of the current offense.

Do you have any questions about the new handgun laws in Indiana?  Contact the experienced attorneys at Banks and Brower anytime at 317-870-0019 or by emailing at info@banksbrower.com.