The answer appears to be “yes.”
In Indiana, we recognize all licenses to carry issued by other states. However, this should not be confused with a firearms registration card. It must be a license to carry, but the holder would nevertheless have to follow Indiana law. That is a separate statutory provision.
What SB 506 appears to do is acknowledge what is already occurring at public shooting ranges and private shooting classes. At public ranges, non-License holders have routinely been arrested and convicted for carrying a handgun without a license. A range is not one’s dwelling, property or fixed place of business.
On the other hand, Indiana offers a wide array of firearms training programs throughout the state. Private-range owners, law enforcement officers and NRA instructors offer courses for residents and non-residents who do not possess a License. Such students have attended without incident (i.e., being arrested for carrying without a License).
Now under Indiana Senate Bill 506, there are sweeping provisions that indicate that so long as the person is lawfully on the property of another without a License but with consent for a “firearms-related event,” he or she may lawfully carry a handgun without a license. The events and locations set forth in the statute are listed in this blog post:
- Gun show.
- Firearms expo.
- Gun owner’s club or convention.
- Hunting club.
- Shooting club.
- Training course.
Nevertheless, the decision to carry a handgun, without our without a License, is an assumption of the risk of unlawful discharge and/or carry. One way to mitigate such risk is by obtaining a License, particularly now that Indiana offers a lifetime License.
The biggest risk in these exceptions to Licensing (where a License to carry is not needed) is how they are defined and/or applied. Any person carrying a handgun with any frequency should obtain a License. In the absence of such, he or she must ensure the handgun is lawfully transported to any of the excepted places and events noted above. And equally, he or she must be sure that the place of the proposed carry fits within one of these and the other exceptions to carry.
Indiana Senate Bill 506 aims at changing 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 on 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 is what the law meant so it was not applied this way.