In what proved to be no surprise, the Republican-controlled Indiana General Assembly has voted to remove a requirement to have a license to own a handgun.

The vote to no longer require residents to have permits to own and carry handguns came after law enforcement officials across the state voiced strong opposition to the measure.

The superintendents of the Indiana State Police, the Indiana Sheriffs' Association and Indiana Association of Chiefs of Police all stated the move would put officers at risk.

With gun violence increasing across the nation and in Indiana, it’s hard to understand why the majority of Republicans in the Legislature would support the measure.

In fact, the issue appeared to have died during the recently completed session, but nothing is ever dead until the Legislature adjourns.

Republicans on a House-Senate conference committee inserted the permit repeal provisions into an unrelated bill to get the measure passed.

I can’t imagine that law-abiding citizens in the Hoosier State would object to having to obtain a permit to carry a handgun in public.

Let me state that I’m not opposed to anyone purchasing and possessing a handgun through the proper legal channels.

In 2020 there were 1,159 gun related homicides in Indiana, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The state’s capital last year had 218 homicides, which broke the previous record of 215 in 2020.

Those figures don’t include people who used a firearm to commit suicide or accidental shootings.

With lawmakers passing the legislation, the ball clearly is in the court of Gov. Eric Holcomb.

Holcomb can sign the legislation into law or veto it.

Before the vote Holcomb said that he fully supports Superintendent Doug Carter, even after Carter sharply criticized GOP lawmakers during a state Senate hearing last week on the proposal, telling senators that if lawmakers “support this bill, you will not be supporting us.”

Holcomb has to determine whether or not he will veto the legislation. He also has on his desk legislation to ban transgender girls from participating in girls sports in K-12 schools.

Both pieces of legislation had supporters and opponents lining up to give testimony and packing the statehouse hallways.

Holcomb has indicated support for the transgender legislation, so a veto of the bill is unlikely.

The question is, will Holcomb veto the gun permit carry legislation over the advice of law enforcement officials around the state?

Should a Hoosier resident be allowed to carry a weapon in public without a permit? I don’t imagine we will be reliving the days of the wild west and having shootouts on Meridian Street.

But with a growing number of firearms in the possession of people, there could be a further increase in gun violence.

The argument that criminals have handguns and don’t worry about obtaining a permit is a valid one. But what happens when road rage or disagreement elevates to the level of physical threats?
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