Holcomb signs ‘permitless carry’ measure, vetoes transgender sports bill

(Fort Wayne's NBC)
Published: Mar. 21, 2022 at 8:27 PM EDT
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INDIANAPOLIS (Fort Wayne’s NBC) - Gov. Eric Holcomb on Monday signed into law a bill lifting the requirement for most Hoosiers to obtain a permit to carry handguns, while vetoing a measure that would put new restrictions in place regarding transgender students competing in grade school athletics.

HEA 1296 -- the gun permits bill -- drew opposition from numerous law enforcement organizations, whose representatives testified that it would endanger officers’ lives. They argued that permits provide a level of security during high-risk stops.

Supporters said the bill would not change the process to legally purchase a gun, and Hoosiers would still need to complete the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives form and be approved by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Auburn Sen. Ben Smaltz (R) authored the bill, which still prohibits those convicted of a felony or known to have a dangerous mental illness from carrying a handgun.

Holcomb, in a statement, said the legislation “entrusts Hoosiers who can lawfully carry a handgun to responsibly do so within our State.”

Following Monday’s signing, Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter issued the following statement:

“As Superintendent of the Indiana State Police, I have pledged my continued commitment to Governor Holcomb to work toward solutions enacting HEA 1296. I, like Governor Holcomb, feel enormous responsibility for front-line law enforcement officers. I will work with law enforcement leaders across our state to make necessary changes to firearms enforcement as well as identifying the best way to identify individuals who are not allowed to carry a firearm as defined by Indiana statute.”

“We will continue to encourage citizens to apply for, and maintain, a firearms permit. A permit will assist law enforcement officers and will also allow a permit holder reciprocity with other states.”

HEA 1041 would prohibit transgender girls from participating in girls’ sports competitions at the grade school and high school level. It also drew passionate opposition -- and support.

The ACLU of Indiana was among the organizations vowing to challenge such a law, which it labeled “cruel.” Holcomb, in his veto, painted HEA 1041 as a flawed piece of legislation that is “unclear” and risked treating some children unfairly, He also noted the likelihood of a court challenge.

Holcomb’s veto is explained in the letter to Speaker Todd Huston (below).

Gov. Eric Holcomb's veto of HEA 1041
Gov. Eric Holcomb's veto of HEA 1041

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