Have any alcohol related convictions on your record? If so, you may have a more difficult time obtaining a handgun permit in Indiana soon. A current proposed bill could take away the ability to buy a handgun if the purchaser has an alcohol related offense on his or her record.
On Wednesday, January 13th, 2016, lawmakers at the Statehouse debated a new effort to prevent those with alcohol related convictions from obtaining a handgun permit. While there are arguments on both sides, the current law allows for the sale as long as the buyer doesn’t have two or more convictions in the past five years.
The proposed changed would remove the phrase, “alcohol abuser,” from the permit application. The term refers to those who have been cited for two or more alcohol-related offenses as well as one or more convictions.
In the past year, Indiana State police rejected 255 handgun license applications because of false statements regarding alcohol abuse.
One group, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, is opposed to changing the bill. Stephanie Mannon of the group sees the proposed change as an attempt to fix a system that she believes isn’t broken.
“I think we have a fundamental disagreement in our communities about who is safe to carry a loaded, concealed handgun in public,” Mannon said. Stephanie believes that this idea is what is at stake with the proposed bill.
Others have argued that the current law is too subjective and needs to be changed. The bill is sponsored by Sen. Jim Tomes (R-Wadesville.) He argues that DUIs and gun ownership do not have any correlation.
“If a person is an upstanding individual who is leaving a wedding reception or an anniversary party or is a husband and wife is out on a dinner date and has too much to drink, well, how would that compute to: Now you shouldn’t have a license to own a handgun?” Tomes said about the bill.
This proposal comes at a time when Indiana as a state is trying to curb violence. In 2015 alone, there were at least 144 homicides in the city of Indianapolis making it the deadliest year on record for the city and state.