In many factual circumstances, the answer is “yes.”
Indiana Senate Bill 506 appears to change Indiana law on where a License is required to carry a handgun; or minimally clarify ambiguous places where carry was hard to determine if lawful without a License in the past.
One of the many gun shows that occur virtually every weekend in Indiana provides an apparent example of how this new law might be applied. For instance, assuming a patron lawfully transports a handgun to the gun show to sell, under the current state of the law (before SB 506 becomes actual law later in the year), he or she could be deemed to be committing a criminal act by carrying this handgun in the show premises.
This is not a person’s dwelling, property, or fixed place of business. As a matter of custom and practice, this did not occur. Visitors were not arrested for carrying a handgun under this circumstance. It was expected that this was what the law meant, so it was not applied this way.
On the other hand, a person who lawfully transported a handgun to a range for target shooting, such as the Camp Atterbury Range, were sometimes arrested for carrying a handgun without a license. This occurred in some situations as soon as they left their automobile, despite the condition of the handgun (i.e., disassembled).
Such uneven enforcement of penal law should no longer occur. This is because under Indiana Senate Bill 506, a person who lawfully carries a handgun on property under the control of another, at which he or she is lawfully present, is allowed to do so without a License. As should be apparent, however, the consent of the person who controls the site must be obtained.
There are still several ways that a person carrying a handgun on property under the control of another could run afoul of the criminal law.
First, this statute has not been applied and interpreted by the judiciary. Their view of its application may be different from that of the General Assembly, Bryan Ciyou, or any person carrying a handgun. Thus, given carrying a handgun is a big responsibility, obtaining a License is still the prudent course to mitigate or eliminate risk.
Second, no part of Indiana Senate Bill 506 should be considered outside of the context and application of other law. For instance, a serious violent felon could not carry a handgun or any firearm under any circumstance because he or she is disqualified of this right by criminal history.
Third, it is foreseeable that “consent” issues may arise. In some cases, consent may be implied, such as attending a gun show. An inherent part of attending a gun show is carrying a firearm, including handguns. Thus, law enforcement and judicial systems may find consent implied and deemed given to any attendees.
On the other hand, it may be the case that the person in control of the property does not expressly give consent (say it is permitted), or it is unclear if implied consent exists. In theory, where a merchant, such as the shopkeeper in an urban strip mall, posts a sign stating “no handguns allowed,” consent is expressly withheld. A person found carrying a handgun in this context may be arrested and charged for carrying a handgun without a License.
Fourth and finally, consent may be revoked. Thus, a person who carries a handgun on the property of another by consent may have consent revoked. Failure to adhere to this (presumably within a reasonable time to do so) would terminate this exception to the need for a License.
Understanding what Indiana Senate Bill 506 does and does not allow is critical. Prudence and caution are the order of the day.