Bill would allow domestic violence victims to get a temporary gun permit

INDIANAPOLIS — Domestic violence victims may be allowed to carry guns legally without a permit, at least temporarily.

House Bill 1071 would allow those who have been granted a protective order to use that order to obtain a temporary permit to carry a gun. Those wishing to use the order as a carrying permit must be 21 years old and must follow all regulations to receive an actual concealed carry permit.

Guy Relford, a Second Amendment attorney and certified gun instructor, has heard many stories from the women he trains that their attackers go away when they see a gun. That’s why he testified Tuesday before the House Public Policy Committee in support of the legislation.

“Whether a woman has the ability to defend herself and actually takes that step to defend herself, or whether she never needs to because the bad guy goes away because he doesn’t want to get shot when somebody saw the gun. That’s a victory. And that’s exactly what this will allow women to do when it’s passed,” Relford said.

Rep. Vanessa Summer, D-Indianapolis, doesn’t agree that the focus should be on defense, but rather the protection given.

“I think that your energies should be in strengthening up that protective order, doing some other things in a domestic violence situation instead of giving a scared to death woman a gun,” Summers said.

The bill would allow those who choose to do so to carry a gun for up to 60 days. If the person goes through the process of filing a concealed firearm permit, the temporary order can be extended for 60 additional days.

Laura Berry, executive director of Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, teared up while giving her testimony about being a survivor of domestic violence and opposing the bill.

“We employ many tactics to keep ourselves safe each and every day. And firearms are usually not it because we know that will lead to our death,” Berry said.

Women get protective orders during the most lethal times of their abuse and said adding a gun was not a good idea, Berry said. Indiana’s statute currently prohibits those who have a protective order against them from having firearms. She questions why lawmakers would want to add a gun into an already volatile situation.

Chair of the committee, Rep. Ben Smaltz, R-Auburn, emphasized that this bill would not make anyone carry a handgun, it would just be an option of protection. The bill was held in committee until next week.