Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Life

April 12, 2013

ASK THE SHERIFF: Carrying a gun — concealed or visible — is a serious matter

With many handgun-carry permits being issued each month, the flurry of firearm and ammunition purchases and the ongoing discussion of gun laws, there have been a number of questions asked of me about what the law says about legally carrying a handgun.

Is it legal to carry a handgun while concealed (concealed carry)?

Can you carry a handgun in the open, visible to others (open carry)?

What do you recommend for carry options?

Article 1, Section 32 of the Indiana State Constitution provides that “The people shall have a right to bear arms, for the defense of themselves and the State.”

Carrying a handgun is a serious matter and an incredible right and responsibility for citizens today. Even so, the decision to display or use your handgun brings potential legal ramifications and can change your life, and others’ lives, forever. Therefore, the carrying of a handgun should not be decided flippantly.

There are many civilian firearms training courses available. I recommend that you receive training with your handgun, know the law on when to display or use deadly force, obtain a quality holster that will secure your firearm, and provide for secure storage of your firearm to keep it out of the hands of children — all very important elements in the decision to carry.  

Indiana law allows for either open or concealed-carry of a handgun if you first obtain a license to carry a handgun. It is your choice. A license is not needed if you are carrying a handgun at home or at your place of business, assuming you can otherwise possess the handgun legally. For example, a convicted felon cannot be in a possession of a firearm anywhere or anytime.

Open carry allows others to see you are carrying a handgun. Open carry can attract unwanted and unnecessary attention. For this reason, I discourage the use of open carry. Concealed carry allows you to maintain the tactical edge until you decide when you draw or use your handgun in a situation to protect yourself or someone else, according to law. Most off-duty police officers carry concealed for this very reason. I highly recommend concealed-carry of your handgun.  

Before carrying a handgun — or any firearm — it is best to review the Indiana law, IC 35-47-2, to review the parameters for obtaining a license to carry. It is also important to know that currently, Indiana law IC 35-47-9-2 prohibits a person to possess a firearm on or in school property or property being used by a school for a school function or on a school bus.

Of course, the law allows a school to designate a person as an armed security guard.

Airlines and courthouses will typically have restrictions for carrying for civilians. Local businesses, may request you not carry while in their business. Although you would not be breaking a firearms’ law, the business owner could ask you to leave.

As always, if you have additional questions about legally carrying a handgun or any firearm, don’t hesitate to contact your sheriff or other local law enforcement agency.

“Ask the Sheriff” a question by emailing Elkhart County Sheriff Brad Rogers at brogers@elkhartcountysheriff.com.

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There has been discussion at West Goshen Elementary School to require mandatory student uniforms in the future. How do you feel about the prospect of mandatory student uniforms in a public school environment?

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