Gun-carrying Hoosiers could soon be pocketing the $125 fee they typically pay for lifetime handgun carry permits.
The Indiana House voted 70-20 on a bill to remove the fee for a lifetime carry permit, and increase the four-year handgun carry permit to five years. Those who pay the fee for the five-year permit would be exempt from future background checks when purchasing a firearm over those next five years, which is why some Hoosiers still might opt for the shorter permit despite its cost.
Hoosiers trying to obtain either permit would still need to go through a background check.
Monday was the deadline for the House to vote on bills from its own chamber.
The House also unanimously passed a bill that would require the Indiana Finance Authority to only allow enter into public-private partnerships with groups that have completed similar work in North America in the previous two years. Lawmakers say the bill would have helped the IFA avoid a situation similar to the two-year I-69 section 5 delays.
Both measures now head to the Senate for a vote.
Opponents of the gun permit measure worried about the impact on state and local police agencies that depend on the revenue from the permits.
According to the Legislative Services Agency fiscal analysis, the state would lose approximately $6.8 million each year from both the switch to a five-year permit and removal of the lifetime permit fee.
Local police units would lose a collective $4.2 million each year — money that is typically used to train police officers.
The bill doesn’t go into effect until 2019, so the state would still have time to fix the revenue gap during the next legislative session.
Opponents of the bill argued that those who don’t wish to carry a firearm, shouldn’t be required to subsidize those who do.
“Who is going to have to pay for the permit…Should it be the person who is going to have the firearm, or should it be all of us?” Rep. Sue Errington, D-Muncie, asked before voting no. “Nobody but me is paying for my license to drive my car.”
Bill author Rep. Timothy Wesco, R-Elkhart, however said that most of the fee money is being used to subsidize police departments, not to pay for the processing of the permit or to perform the background checks.