Indiana House backs ending handgun permits, tighter abortion law

Republicans pushed bills through the Indiana House on Monday that would repeal the state’s permit requirement for carrying a handgun in public and further tighten the state’s abortion laws, joining movements in several other GOP-controlled states.

Posted: Feb 23, 2021 12:38 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Republicans pushed bills through the Indiana House on Monday that would repeal the state’s permit requirement for carrying a handgun in public and further tighten the state’s abortion laws, joining movements in several other GOP-controlled states.

House members voted 65-31 largely along party lines to eliminate the gun permit requirement that supporters of the move argue undermines Second Amendment protections by forcing law-abiding citizens to obtain the permits.

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The bill would allow anyone age 18 or older to carry a handgun except for reasons such as having a felony conviction, facing a restraining order from a court or having a dangerous mental illness.

Bill sponsor Republican Rep. Ben Smaltz of Auburn argued that criminals don’t obey the permitting law and that it gives a false promise of keeping guns away from violent people while forcing those allowed to carry guns to undergo police fingerprinting and other steps to obtain the permits.

“It is not a shield, it is not security,” Smaltz said. “Criminals are criminals and are going to do what criminals do.”

Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter and leaders of the state police chiefs association and Indiana Fraternal Order of Police, however, testified against the repeal earlier this month, saying it would eliminate a valuable screening tool identifying dangerous people who shouldn’t possess handguns.

Smaltz said he had agreed to delay the repeal until April 2022 to give police departments and state agencies time to develop a database so that police officers could immediately know if they are encountering people prohibited from having firearms.

Democrats questioned whether such a database could be put together for use by police officers because of federal and state privacy laws.

“You can’t say ‘I believe and trust in our men and women in blue and I will stand up for them every single time,’ yet when they come to us and say ‘This is not a good idea,’ we totally and flagrantly disregard their concerns,” said Democratic Rep. Terri Austin of Anderson.

Those seeking gun permits currently pay about $5 million in state fees, along with $3.5 million in permit application fees that local police and sheriff departments now collect and spend on equipment and training.

Smaltz said he expected that the Legislature would include money in the state budget so that the local departments would not lose that money.

Similar bills allowing permitless gun carry are being pushed by Republican lawmakers in several states this year.

The Republican-dominated House also voted 67-29 in favor of a bill that would require doctors to tell patients about a disputed treatment to stop a drug-induced abortion after a woman has taken the first of two pills for the procedure.

Abortion opponents argue the bill ensures that women who may change their minds about ending their pregnancies have information about stopping the process by taking a different drug after having taken the first of the two drugs for a medication abortion.

Abortion-rights supporters maintain doctors would be forced to provide dubious information to their patients.

Bill sponsor Republican Rep. Peggy Mayfield of Martinsville said she believed the proposal could reduce abortions in the state.

“You make abortion more unthinkable because you are providing the mother with additional information and alternatives to abortion,” she said

Six states already have similar requirements in place, while laws in three other states — North Dakota, Oklahoma and Tennessee — have been blocked by legal challenges, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights.

Medical groups say the “reversal” process is not backed up by science and that there is little information about the procedure’s safety.

Medication abortions accounted for 44% of the roughly 7,600 abortions performed in Indiana during 2019, according to the state health department’s most recent statistics.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, which has successfully blocked several anti-abortion laws adopted by Indiana legislators, said that new proposal “runs afoul of the Constitution.”

The organization said the bill “would force health providers to lie to their patients and provide dangerous, false and misleading information about abortion reversal, putting patients at risk while ignoring science and the First Amendment rights of medical providers.”

Both bills now go to the Senate for consideration.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 704632

Reported Deaths: 13211
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion961411718
Lake51322943
Allen39040670
Hamilton34368405
St. Joseph33865539
Elkhart27197431
Vanderburgh22050394
Tippecanoe21725212
Johnson17475374
Porter17240298
Hendricks16754310
Clark12663190
Madison12321337
Vigo12172244
Monroe11417166
LaPorte10841204
Delaware10325184
Howard9629211
Kosciusko9098113
Hancock7954139
Bartholomew7867155
Warrick7680155
Floyd7543176
Wayne6887198
Grant6773171
Boone6524100
Morgan6379138
Dubois6074117
Marshall5770108
Dearborn568576
Cass5678102
Henry5569100
Noble539383
Jackson492869
Shelby478295
Lawrence4336118
Gibson427789
Harrison427570
Clinton417753
Montgomery417286
DeKalb407984
Huntington377480
Whitley376339
Miami371765
Knox365789
Steuben363357
Putnam352360
Jasper347546
Wabash347377
Adams337852
Ripley333468
Jefferson312180
White307854
Daviess289399
Wells285581
Decatur278592
Fayette277162
Greene270485
Posey268433
Scott260853
Clay253044
LaGrange252170
Randolph234680
Washington230631
Spencer227531
Jennings224747
Fountain208245
Sullivan207542
Starke202652
Owen191956
Fulton190939
Jay185829
Carroll185620
Perry179736
Orange176753
Rush170624
Vermillion165943
Franklin165635
Tipton160943
Parke144316
Blackford133331
Pike130234
Pulaski113245
Newton103034
Brown99740
Crawford97514
Benton96413
Martin82515
Warren79315
Switzerland7698
Union69710
Ohio55711
Unassigned0408

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1050112

Reported Deaths: 18991
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1219281356
Cuyahoga1067232069
Hamilton780741168
Montgomery49976996
Summit45252909
Lucas39984765
Butler37678570
Stark31385895
Lorain24111473
Warren23864293
Mahoning20869583
Lake19963362
Clermont19423229
Delaware18002130
Licking16109207
Fairfield15676197
Trumbull15553460
Medina14839259
Greene14643236
Clark13602293
Wood12733185
Portage12353196
Allen11312229
Richland11025198
Miami10525214
Muskingum8702127
Wayne8556209
Columbiana8535226
Pickaway8429121
Tuscarawas8370240
Marion8365135
Erie7554154
Hancock6694123
Ross6693146
Geauga6532146
Ashtabula6470165
Scioto6286101
Belmont5610158
Union557447
Lawrence5465102
Jefferson5303147
Huron5298114
Darke5268121
Sandusky5171120
Seneca5108120
Washington5073107
Athens500656
Auglaize475184
Mercer471184
Shelby455890
Knox4380108
Madison421559
Putnam420799
Ashland412688
Fulton409167
Defiance400896
Crawford3866101
Brown386055
Logan372876
Preble369898
Clinton360560
Ottawa356578
Highland346359
Williams324974
Champaign319257
Jackson307951
Guernsey306149
Perry289649
Fayette277348
Morrow274639
Hardin264164
Henry263566
Coshocton258857
Holmes253099
Van Wert238862
Gallia233346
Pike232931
Adams227852
Wyandot226953
Hocking208959
Carroll189147
Paulding168638
Meigs141538
Noble132837
Monroe128841
Morgan106623
Harrison105236
Vinton81414
Unassigned02
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