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House Committee Changes, Approves Gun Bill

By Brandon Smith, IPB News | Published on in Crime, Government, Politics, Statewide News
Rep. Ben Smaltz (R-Auburn) discusses his bill to make changes to Indiana gun laws. (Brandon Smith/IPB News)
Rep. Ben Smaltz (R-Auburn) discusses his bill to make changes to Indiana gun laws. (Brandon Smith/IPB News)

A panel of House lawmakers unanimously approved legislation Wednesday that would allow guns in churches on school grounds.

The committee also changed parts of the bill that relate to gun licenses.

The House committee took hours of testimony on the bill last week. But it didn’t debate the measure at all before voting on it this week.

The bill would allow property owners – whether it’s a house of worship or a school – to decide whether churchgoers can carry guns at a service.

The measure also originally eliminated the fee for a lifetime handgun license. The bill’s author, Public Policy Committee Chair Rep. Ben Smaltz (R-Auburn), changed it. Now, fees for short-term handgun licenses would be eliminated.

Rep. Jim Lucas (R-Seymour) supports the change – though he wants to go further.

“I still think that requiring license of a constitutional right is unconstitutional but since the chairman is doing such a good job of moving in that direction, I’m want to throw a bone and show some support,” Lucas says. “I’m gonna vote yes.”

The legislation also changes the period of those short-term licenses from four years to five.