A Week After Historic School Shooting, Indiana Set To Loosen Gun Rules

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Changes would be made to background check requirements, permit fees, and rules regarding carrying guns into churches.

Lawmakers in Indiana recently advanced a handful of laws that critics say will loosen gun regulations in the state, and the bills passed out of committee just one week after a Florida high school shooting killed 17 people.

Bills that would change background check requirements, waive the lifetime handgun carry permit fee and clarify that people can bring firearms onto church grounds, even if a school is on the premise, passed out of Senate and House committees Wednesday.

Some lawmakers are particularly leery of passing legislation to loosen regulations after the latest school shooting. Democratic state Sen. Tim Lanane said this is not the time to be relaxing the rules but reassessing them.

The next step for each bill is a full vote.

House Bill 1424 gets rid of the $125 fee for a lifetime handgun carry permit, and increases the four-year handgun carry permit to five years. Hoosiers who obtain both permits would be subject to a federal NICS background check.

Those who obtain the lifetime permit would still need to undergo a background check any time they purchased a firearm. Those who choose the five-year, $40 permit, however, would be exempt from future background checks when purchasing a firearm over those five years.

Senate Bill 33 would allow guns on all church properties in the state. Currently, only churches without schools on the property are permitted to allow parishioners to carry firearms.

"We just need to eliminate gun free zones," Lucas said, "and recognize the right of a lawful person to go on a property without fear of prosecution or being charged with a felony."

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