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The Limits of Indiana’s Constitutional Carry Law

Like many other states, Indiana recently enacted “constitutional carry” of handguns. This law expands peoples’ access to handguns in public spaces and reduces the time it takes to purchase a pistol or revolver. Some people believe that all adult Indiana residents now have an unrestricted right to carry handguns in the state. On the contrary, the state constitutional carry law has many limitations.

Indiana’s law, which took effect July 1, 2022, does away with the requirement of a permit to carry a handgun. However, this does not mean that everyone who wants a firearm can legally own or possess one. A key provision of the constitutional carry law states that a person “not otherwise prohibited from possessing a firearm” may carry a handgun without a permit. Many people are prohibited from carrying a handgun under both state and federal law. These include:

  • Convicted felons
  • Fugitives from justice
  • Persons currently under indictment
  • Persons convicted of domestic abuse
  • Persons adjudicated mentally deficient or dangerous
  • Persons under the age of 18 years
  • Persons dishonorably discharged from the armed forces

Those found in possession of a handgun in violation of state or federal prohibitions may be arrested and prosecuted.

The constitutional carry provision did not change the laws prohibiting firearms in certain locations. There are still many places in which firearms are restricted to law enforcement officers and special designees. These places include:

  • Schools
  • Airport controlled access areas
  • Commercial or charter aircraft
  • Riverboat casinos
  • Federal buildings and premises (e.g. post offices)
  • Private property where the owner has posted a no-firearms policy

Despite having constitutional carry, Indiana still maintains a handgun license program. Gun owners should consider getting and maintaining a state license. Indiana has reciprocity with many other states with respect to carrying handguns. This means that an Indiana license holder may carry firearms in a reciprocal state, subject to that state’s firearms laws. However, state reciprocity laws do not apply to constitutional carry. Therefore, not having a license makes transporting and carrying firearms in many other states more difficult or even illegal. To protect yourself, consult with a criminal lawyer who is knowledgeable about the gun laws of Indiana and neighboring states.

Another reason to have a gun carry license is safety. Honest people sometimes have unexpected contact with law enforcement. A person lawfully carrying a gun may be stopped for a traffic infraction or be a witness to a crime. Officers can be justifiably anxious when encountering an unknown armed individual. When interacting with law enforcement while armed, the best practice is to show the officer the license. Identifying oneself as a license holder lets the officer know that the armed individual is unlikely to be a threat.

Based in Merrillville, the Law Office of Weiss, Schmidgall and Hires is a highly respected criminal defense firm in the Northwest Indiana region. If you have an issue involving firearms or any other criminal matter, feel free to contact us online or call 219-293-8988 for an initial consultation.

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Christopher R. Schmidgall Attorney Photo
Christopher R. Schmidgall

For more than ten years, Christopher Schmidgall has protected the lives of people who find themselves caught in the tangled machinery of criminal prosecution. With the skill and determination he’s demonstrated throughout his life, Chris offers them the help they need to get their lives back in order. Not long after graduating from Valparaiso...

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Amanda C. Hires

Following a remarkably accomplished academic career, Amanda Hires applied her record of success to servicing good people facing difficult situations. She served as a volunteer at the New Orleans Public Defender’s Office and worked intensively with prosecutors and defense attorneys while under the guidance of Judge Sheila Moss at the Lake County Superior Court...

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Jessica McPheeters

Jessica McPheeters is an associate attorney with her primary focus being in Estate Planning, Probate, Business Formation and Planning, and other general practice matters. Jessica received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Economics from Ball State University in 2014. Jessica then received her Juris Doctor from Valparaiso University School of Law...

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