One year after Indiana removed the permit requirement to carry a handgun legally, applications for firearm licenses have dwindled and so has the number of misdemeanors filed for unlawful carry. As gun crime rates around the state continue to increase, law enforcement officials are hesitant to blame the new constitutional carry law, News From The States reports. So far, in 2023, the Indiana State Police have received 11,143 applications and issued 10,587 handgun licenses. In 2022 — the year the new law took effect — 47,254 licenses were issued. That’s a significant drop compared to the year prior, when state police approved nearly 136,000 firearms licenses. Indiana retained its licensing law to allow people who wish to carry in other states that still require licenses to obtain one. No one is required to have a license in the state. Despite pushback from dozens of law enforcement officers and police chiefs — along with stern criticism from the state police superintendent — Gov. Eric Holcomb signed the constitutional carry bill; it took effect July 1 of last year.
“We’re still watching it very carefully. We have limited ability to inquire about possession of a handgun,” said State Police Superintendent Doug Carter. “We’re making the best of it. It is what it is right now. It is state law so we’ll do the very best we can.” Plainfield Police Department Chief Kyle Prewitt, who represents the more than 300 members of the Indiana Association of Chiefs of Police, said police don’t get to write the laws but must apply them. “We’re kind of in that mode of trying to figure these things out,” he said. “Where once, when you saw somebody walking down the street with a firearm on their hip, we probably weren’t going to stop them and ask them for ID and a permit. But if we had reason to, the permit made it pretty easy to know that, yeah, everything’s fine ... this has changed some of our methodology a little bit.” Every state allows people to carry concealed weapons in public, but half of them still require a permit. About 31 states honor Indiana’s handgun licenses.