A bill introduced in the Indiana Statehouse would allow victims of domestic violence to be allowed to carry a firearm without a permit for 60 days.
According to this story from thestatehousefile.com, House Bill 1071 would allow those who have been granted a protective order to use that order as a temporary permit to carry a firearm, as long as they are at least 21 years old. Victims would have to abide by the same rules as other permitted concealed carriers in the state.
If the person goes through the process of filing a concealed firearms permit application, the temporary order can be extended for 60 additional days, the story says.
“So many of those stories involve women in abusive situations and they’ve made the decision to just not buy a gun but take the next step and come get some training,” said Guy Relford, a 2nd Amendment attorney and firearms instructor, while testifying Tuesday in front of the House Public Policy Committee in support of the legislation. This Fox story says he has trained hundreds of women to shoot. “I hear this story over and over again: ‘When he saw the gun he went away.'”
“What is the purpose of this legislation?” Relford asked. “It’s to prevent those murders. It’s to allow women to not become a statistic to be cited in some future hearing. It’s for the murder to have never happened in the first place. We’re talking about crimes that don’t happen because there was a gun involved. 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.”
A common piece of rhetoric regarding the issue of women threatened by domestic abusers and self defense is “a restraining order is just a piece of paper,” meaning if someone wants to do the victim harm, they may have to defend themselves.
Several types of legislation have been introduced in recent months to help keep victims safe while whey have a protective order against someone.
On Friday, the Virginia House of Delegates passed HB 1852, which would allow victims of domestic violence the ability to conceal carry before obtaining a concealed carry permit. Under that bill, the victim would be allowed to carry for up to 45 days after the restraining order was issued, according to this story from bearingarms.com. This would give the victim enough time to apply for a regular permit, but to carry and defend themselves while waiting.
Coming at the issue from the other direction, a law signed last month in New Jersey by Gov. Chris Christie prohibits anyone convicted of a domestic violence crime or subject to a domestic violence restraining order to possess a firearm. Indiana’s current law also prohibits those who have a protective order against them from having firearms.
The bill, as expected, has its opponents.
Rep. Vanessa Summer (D-Indianapolis) says the focus should be more on the protection given under a protective order.
“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 in the statehousefile.com story.
Of course, no one is giving these hypothetical women a gun—the bill would merely make it easier for them to exercise their constitutional right to carry a firearm and defend themselves if they so choose or feel it’s necessary.
The bill has been held in committee until next week.