By Andrew Longstreth
INDIANAPOLIS—An Indiana Senate committee voted Tuesday to make changes to Indiana’s ‘Red Flag’ law to help protect suicidal individuals.
The bill, which earlier passed the Senate Judiciary Committee 5-3, was approved by the Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee 8-2 and now goes to the full Senate for consideration.
House Bill 1651, authored by Rep. Donna Schaibley, R-Carmel, states that a dangerous person cannot apply for or receive a handgun license and that law enforcement will seize any firearm that is owned by a dangerous person.
Under current Indiana law, there are no restrictions or penalties for anyone deemed dangerous from obtaining another firearm if their own weapon is confiscated by police. HB 1651 would make it a Class A misdemeanor for someone deemed dangerous to try to obtain a firearm and makes it a Level 5 felony for someone to knowingly or intentionally give a dangerous person a firearm.
Reps. Donna Schaibley, R-Caramel, and Ben Smaltz, R-Auburn, presenting House Bill 1651 in front of the Tax and Fiscal Policy committee
Photo by Andrew Longstreth TheStateHouseFile.com
“Sixty-eight of the individuals who are (currently) covered under this are actually suicidal individuals.” Schaibley told the Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee.
Any firearm seized by law enforcement will initially be held by policy for 180 days. The owner can then petition for its return but must prove he or she is no longer dangerous. After 12 months, the state will need to prove to a court that the person is still dangerous and unfit to own a firearm.
HB 1651 also permits license holders to carry firearms on the property of places of worship if they are members or volunteers there or are attending a religious ceremony. However, the property owner still retains the right to decide if firearms are permitted on the property.
HB 1651 also increases handgun licenses to five years from the current four and includes a free five-year handgun license with the purchase of a lifetime license.
Andrew Longstreth is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.