One part of Indiana's HB 1284 removes all fees associated with the cost of obtaining a handgun license, in addition to removing some prohibitions on guns at schools and providing immunity and court costs for justified use of force in certain instances.
The Indiana House voted for the bill by 64-17, while the Senate approved it by 37-7. The Governor made a statement about the bill's removal of licensing fees, saying,
"Removing any and all barriers for lawful carry in our state is significant for the many Hoosier gun owners who want to protect themselves and others.”
This bill makes Indiana the first state to offer a permit without a fee of any kind, and one of only eight requiring a permit that requires no training of any kind. The permit is available only to Indiana residents, but the state has reciprocity agreements with 32 other states.
The bill was signed with many lawmakers in attendance on April 26th by Gov. Eric Holcomb to expand Indiana’s Stand Your Ground law and was announced at the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting. While Current laws dictate that a person defending themselves, another person or their property with a gun cannot be held criminally liable, this legislation now extends those protections to civil courts.
The license fee removal takes place on July 1st, 2020, however, a fee still exists for those applying for a lifetime license of $50 for a new lifetime license, or $40 for converting from a five-year license to a lifetime license.
The bill also changes current four-year licenses to five-year licenses.
Another existing law change pertains to churches that are on school property, removing the right to ban guns from the school's oversight and giving it to the churches themselves.
HB 1284 was sponsored in the House by Rep. Jim Lucas and was co-authored by Rep. Christy Stutzman, Rep. Ben Smaltz, and Rep. Terry Goodin.
It was sponsored in the Senate by Sen. James Tomes, Sen. Mark Messmer, Sen. Chris Garten, Sen. Blake Doriot, Sen. Jon Ford, Sen. Erin Houchin, Sen. Aaron Freeman, Sen. Eric Koch, Sen. Mike Bohacek, Sen. Linda Rogers, Sen. Dennis Kruse, Sen. John Crane, and Sen. Jeff Raatz.