The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution gives all citizens the right to bear arms. This includes Indiana residents. However, each state has taken it upon itself to govern the keeping and bearing of arms within its borders. 

While some might argue that the Second Amendment gives citizens broad gun ownership rights, the reality is that in every state there are laws that restrict gun ownership in one way or another. Indiana is one of the states with the least restrictive laws relating to guns and gun ownership. But even in the Hoosier State, there are different laws you should know about. Violating any of these laws can lead to weapons charges and put your future in jeopardy.

Who Can Buy, Own, and Carry Guns in Indiana?

In Indiana, you do not need any special license or permit to purchase or own a gun. There is also no requirement that a firearm you own be registered. 

You do, however, need to be 18 years of age or older to buy long guns (like shotguns) and 21 years of age or older to buy a handgun. You will also need to pass a background check if you are buying your gun from a registered gun dealer.

While you don’t need any documentation to purchase a gun, you do need to have a permit or license to carry a gun. 

The licensing process includes:

  • Applying online to the Indiana State Police
  • Paying all appropriate fees
  • Submitting  fingerprints 

All of these requirements need to be met within 90 days of the submission of your application. Once your license to carry a handgun (LTCH) has been issued you can carry your handgun (openly or concealed). It should be noted that licensing requirements only apply to handguns. If you legally own a long gun (like a shotgun), you do not need a license to carry it with you.

There are, however, several places even licensed gun owners cannot bring their guns.

Some of those places include:

  • Airports
  • Schools and school buses
  • Riverboat casinos

There are many places where you can legally carry a gun, including bars and restaurants, hotels, and in Indiana’s many state parks.

Indiana Gun Crimes

There are numerous Indiana gun crimes that are strictly enforced and come with serious penalties including steep fines and significant jail time. These laws relate to who can carry a gun and where they can carry it.

Carrying a Handgun Without a License

For starters, Section 35-47-2-3 of the Indiana State Code clearly states that a person carrying a handgun without a license is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor. Class A misdemeanors are the most serious type of misdemeanor and carry a maximum prison sentence of one year and a maximum fine of $5,000.

If a person carries a handgun without a license on or near school property the charges could go from a Class A misdemeanor to a Level 5 felony. A Level 5 felony is punishable by up to 6 years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.

Possessing a Firearm After a Domestic Violence Conviction

Another gun crime in Indiana is possessing a gun if you have previously been convicted of domestic battery. The law in Indiana is crystal clear on this point and takes away the right of possessing a gun from those convicted of domestic battery.

If you have been previously convicted of domestic battery and are found in possession of a firearm you could be facing a Class A misdemeanor or Level 5 felony if you were found with the gun on or near school property. 

Other Gun Crimes in Indiana

Other Indiana gun crimes you should be aware of include:

  • Selling a gun to someone who is not legally allowed to own one including minors, convicted felons, and those who abuse drugs or alcohol
  • Changing or removing the serial number on a gun
  • Pointing a loaded or unloaded gun at another person

Penalties for these crimes range from Class A misdemeanors to Level 5 felonies and come with penalties similar to the other crimes listed above.

Obviously, if you legally own a hunting rifle or shotgun, it is legal to use those guns for their intended purpose. There are other situations in which Indiana residents can legally use their firearms, such as:

  • In defense of self: Indiana is a Castle Doctrine state and has a “stand your ground” law on the books. This means that you have no duty to retreat and can use deadly force (including a gun) if necessary, to protect yourself.
  • In defense of others: Castle Doctrine and stand your ground laws apply to defending others from danger as well.
  • In defense of place: If an individual invades, attacks, or trespasses on your property, deadly force is permissible

The use of deadly force is also permitted if justified to protect property a person legally possesses.

What to Do if You are Charged With a Gun Crime

If you have been charged with a gun crime, it is crucial you hire a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The key to mounting a successful defense is starting early in the process. 

As a U.S. citizen and an Indiana resident, you have certain rights. A skilled lawyer will make sure your rights are not infringed upon, that your case is resolved as quickly as possible, and that the outcome is as favorable as possible.