After A Year Of Permitless Carry In Indiana, Handgun Licenses And Related Misdemeanors Drop

Imagine this scenario: You’re a law-abiding citizen in Indiana who has always followed the rules for legally carrying a handgun. For years, you’ve dutifully renewed your license every few years, paid the associated fees, and taken the required safety courses. But as of April 2022, all that changed with the passage of Indiana’s new “constitutional carry” or permitless carry law.

This controversial legislation allows Indiana residents who can legally possess firearms to carry handguns without a license, sparking heated debates around gun rights and public safety. Now, one year after implementation, the data reveals some surprising trends – handgun license applications and related misdemeanor charges have dropped significantly.

Understanding Indiana’s Permitless Carry Law

Understanding Indiana's Permitless Carry Law

Before diving into the numbers, let’s quickly recap what permitless or “constitutional” carry entails. This type of law, which has been adopted by over half of U.S. states, allows individuals who can legally possess firearms to carry handguns openly or concealed without obtaining a license or permit.

The push for such legislation in Indiana faced staunch opposition, with critics arguing it could increase gun violence and make communities less safe. Proponents, however, touted it as a victory for Second Amendment rights, reducing bureaucratic hurdles for lawful gun owners.

Ultimately, the Republican-controlled state legislature passed the bill in March 2022, and it went into effect the following month, solidifying Indiana’s place among the growing list of permitless carry states.

The Data Doesn’t Lie: Plummeting Handgun License Applications

One of the most glaring impacts of Indiana’s new law is the steep decline in handgun license applications. According to data from the Indiana State Police, the number of applications received in 2022 (after the law took effect) was a mere 61,261 – a staggering 71% decrease from the 211,107 applications received in 2021.

This trend is clearly visualized in the following chart:

YearHandgun License Applications
2022 61,261

While some drop was expected due to the reduced need for licenses, the sheer magnitude of the decline is noteworthy. It potentially signals a broader shift in perception among Indiana residents regarding the necessity or benefits of obtaining a handgun license.

Misdemeanors Related to Handgun Licenses Also Dropping

Misdemeanors Related to Handgun Licenses Also Dropping

Interestingly, the data reveals a corresponding decrease in misdemeanor charges tied to handgun license requirements. For instance, the number of charges for “Handgun Licenses and Other Regulations” fell by 48% from 2,076 in 2021 to 1,075 in 2022.

This decline in misdemeanor filings directly correlates with the new permitless carry regime, as certain offenses like carrying without a valid license are no longer applicable for lawful gun owners in most circumstances.

Permitless Carry: Increasing Gun Rights or Public Safety Concern?

The impacts observed in Indiana reignite the fierce debate around permitless carry laws and their broader implications. On one side, gun rights advocates celebrate the increased freedom and convenience for responsible gun owners to exercise their Second Amendment rights without unnecessary bureaucratic obstacles.

Gun Owners of America’s State Director for Indiana, Brendan Hartman, commended the law:

“This is a monumental achievement for Hoosiers’ constitutional rights. Law-abiding citizens shouldn’t have to jump through hoops and pay excessive fees just to bear arms for self-defense.”

However, critics remain concerned about potential public safety risks associated with increasing access to firearms without thorough vetting processes like background checks and training requirements.

Niki Thompson, volunteer leader with the Indiana chapter of Moms Demand Action, cautioned:

“Permitless carry makes it easier for dangerous individuals to carry loaded handguns in public, increasing the risks of firearms falling into the wrong hands and escalating disagreements into deadly encounters.”

While comprehensive data on gun violence in Indiana since the law’s implementation is still emerging, experiences from other permitless carry states offer insights. A 2022 study by Everytown for Gun Safety found that states with permitless carry laws tend to have higher rates of gun violence than those requiring permits.

Nonetheless, proponents argue that law-abiding gun owners are not the source of such violence and that properly enforcing existing laws against prohibited possessors is the key to improving public safety.

The Role of Training and Education

The Role of Training and Education

Regardless of one’s stance on permitless carry, most experts agree that responsible gun ownership hinges on adequate training and education – with or without permit requirements. Indiana offers various resources in this realm, such as the Handgun Education and Training Course administered by the Indiana State Police.

Mike Barger, owner of Barger Precision Firearms Training, commented:

“While the permitless carry law removes the training mandate, we still strongly encourage all gun owners to seek professional instruction on firearm safety, handling, and applicable laws. An educated and disciplined armed citizen is the best deterrent against misuse.”


After one year of implementation, Indiana’s permitless carry law has undoubtedly disrupted the state’s handgun licensing landscape. The sharp decline in license applications and related misdemeanor charges signals a significant shift in how residents approach legal handgun possession and carry.

While gun rights advocates celebrate this as a victory for Second Amendment freedoms, critics raise valid concerns about potential public safety implications without robust vetting processes. As more data emerges, continued analysis and open dialogue will be crucial to assess the law’s broader impacts accurately.

Ultimately, regardless of one’s stance on the issue, promoting responsible gun ownership through education and adherence to existing laws should be a common goal for all Hoosiers. Only time will tell if Indiana’s permitless carry approach strikes the right balance between protecting constitutional rights and safeguarding communities.

What are your thoughts on Indiana’s experience with permitless carry so far? Share your perspectives in the comments below.


Can I get a gun permit with a misdemeanor in Indiana?

Certain misdemeanors may disqualify you, consult an attorney.

Is Indiana doing away with lifetime handgun permits?

Yes, lifetime permits are no longer needed due to permitless carry law.

Is carrying a handgun without a license a felony in Indiana?

No, not a felony for legal gun owners under new permitless carry law.

Is Indiana a permitless concealed carry state?

Yes, Indiana adopted permitless/constitutional carry in April 2022.

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