Background Checks in Indiana

Posted on Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

Federal law requires federally licensed firearms dealers (but not private sellers) to initiate a background check on the purchaser prior to sale of a firearm. Federal law provides states with the option of serving as a state “point of contact” and conducting their own background checks using state, as well as federal, records and databases, or having the checks performed by the FBI using only the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database. (Note that state files are not always included in the federal database.)

Indiana is not a point of contact state for the NICS. Indiana law explicitly requires dealers to conduct a background check prior to transferring a handgun, by contacting the FBI directly.1 Although Indiana has no law explicitly requiring firearms dealers to initiate a background check prior to transferring a long gun, the federal law requires dealers to initiate a background check prior to the transfer of any kind of gun by contacting the FBI directly.2

See our Background Checks policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Indiana does not require private sellers (sellers who are not licensed dealers) to initiate a background check when transferring a firearm. See our Private Sales policy summary.

  1. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-2.5-4(a). []
  2. Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Instant Criminal Background Check System Participation Map, at http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/nics/general-information/participation-map (last visited Oct. 24, 2011). []

Guns in Vehicles in Indiana

Posted on Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

Indiana prohibits carrying a firearm in a vehicle without a license to carry a handgun unless the vehicle is owned, leased, rented, or otherwise legally controlled by the person, and the handgun is unloaded, not readily accessible, and secured in a case.1 The same conditions apply if the person is lawfully in a vehicle owned, leased, rented, or otherwise legally controlled by another person so long as the person carrying the handgun is lawfully in the vehicle.2

However, no person may adopt or enforce an ordinance, resolution, policy or rule that prohibits or has the effect of prohibiting an employee of the person from possessing a firearm or ammunition that is locked in the trunk of the employee’s vehicle, kept in the glove compartment of the employee’s locked vehicle, or stored out of plain sight in the employee’s locked vehicle.3 This restriction does not apply in various, specifically named locations including school property and a private residence.4

Indiana law generally prohibits operating a an off-road vehicle or snowmobile while transporting a firearm on or in the vehicle, unless the firearm is unloaded, and securely encased or equipped with and made inoperative by a “manufactured keylocked trigger housing mechanism.”5 This restriction does not apply to any person who may legally carry a handgun; is carrying a firearm on property he or she has a legal right to possess; or is carrying on property with the permission from the property owner.6

  1. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-2-1. []
  2. Id. []
  3. Id., Ind. Code Ann. § 34-28-7-2. []
  4. See Ind. Code Ann. § 34-28-7-2(b) for the list. []
  5. Ind. Code Ann. § 14-16-1-23(a)(9). []
  6. Ind. Code Ann. § 14-16-1-23(b). []

Retention of Sales & Background Check Records in Indiana

Posted on Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

Indiana does not have any laws requiring the retention of sales records or background check records or the reporting of sales to a state or local agency.

See our Retention of Firearm Sales and Background Check Records policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Mental Health Reporting in Indiana

Posted on Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

In Indiana, the Division of State Court Administration is responsible for administering an electronic system for receiving information about individuals prohibited from possessing a firearm and transmitting this information to NICS.2  A court must transmit information to the Division for transmission to NICS whenever it finds that a person is:

  • “Mentally ill and either dangerous or gravely disabled” (necessitating either inpatient or outpatient treatment);3
  • Not responsible for a crime by reason of insanity;4
  • Guilty of a crime but mentally ill;5 or
  • Not competent to understand criminal proceedings against him- or herself.6

In addition, the Department of Corrections must transmit information to the Division for transmission to NICS whenever it “involuntarily transfers” a criminal to the Division of Mental Health and Addiction.7

Lastly,  the court or Department of Correction must transmit information to the Department of State Court Administration for transmission to NICS regarding previously-committed individuals whose firearms eligibility has been restored.8

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). []
  2. Ind. Code § 33-24-6-3(a)(8). []
  3. Ind. Code §§ 12-26-6-8(g), 12-26-7-5(c). []
  4. Ind. Code § 35-36-2-4(e). []
  5. Ind. Code § 35-36-2-5(f). []
  6. Ind. Code § 35-36-3-1(c). []
  7. Ind. Code § 11-10-4-3(e). []
  8. Ind. Code § 33-23-15-2(c). []

Prohibited Purchasers Generally in Indiana

Posted on Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.

Indiana prohibits a person from transferring a handgun to an individual whom the transferor knows:

  • Is ineligible for any reason other than the person’s age to receive a handgun from a dealer; or
  • Intends to use the handgun to commit a crime.1

Persons convicted of domestic battery2 may not possess or carry a firearm unless the person’s right to possess a firearm has been restored.3  Indiana courts may also prohibit certain abusers from possessing firearms in certain domestic violence protective orders.  See Domestic Violence and Firearms in Indiana.

For information on the background check process used to enforce these provisions, see Background Checks in Indiana.

For information about the process by which law enforcement can remove firearms from dangerous individuals, see Disarming Prohibited Persons in Indiana.

See our Prohibited Purchasers policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-2-7(b). []
  2. Defined at Ind. Code Ann. § 35-42-2-1.3. []
  3. Ind. Code Ann. §§ 35-47-2-1(c), 35-47-4-6. []

Fifty Caliber Rifles in Indiana

Posted on Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

Indiana has no law regulating fifty caliber firearms.

See our Fifty Caliber Rifles policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Personalized & Owner-Authorized Firearms in Illinois

Posted on Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

Illinois does not require firearms to be personalized.

See our Personalized & Owner-Authorized Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Concealed Weapons Permitting in Indiana

Posted on Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

Indiana does not prohibit a person from carrying a concealed firearm in public if the person has a license.1 Carrying a handgun is permitted, without a license, in or on property that the person carrying the handgun legally controls or when a person is on property another person legally controls if that person consents to the carrying of a handgun on the property.2 Also, a permit is not required to carry a handgun when attending a firearms related event on the property such as a gun show or instructional course; is on on the property to receive firearms related services such as the repair of a firearm; or is engaged in a legal hunting activity.3

Indiana is a “shall issue” state, meaning that the Indiana State Police (ISP) must issue a concealed weapons license if the applicant meets certain qualifications. The Superintendent of the Indiana State Police (Superintendent) shall issue a license to carry a handgun if it appears that the applicant:

  • Has a proper reason for carrying a handgun (i.e., “for the defense of oneself or the state of Indiana;”4 );
  • Is of good character and reputation;
  • Is a citizen of the United States, or not a citizen of the United States but allowed to carry a firearm under federal law; and
  • Is a “proper person” to be licensed.5

A “proper person” is defined as someone who:

  • Does not have a conviction for resisting law enforcement within five years of his or her application;
  • Does not have a conviction for a crime for which he or she could have been sentenced for more than one year;
  • Does not have a conviction for a crime of domestic violence (as defined in § 35-41-1-6.3), unless a court has restored that person’s “right to possess a firearm” under section 35-47-4-7;
  • Is not prohibited by a court order from possessing a handgun;
  • Does not have a record of being an alcohol or drug abuser as defined in Chapter 35-47-1;
  • Does not have documented evidence which would give rise to a reasonable belief that he or she has a propensity for violent or emotionally unstable conduct;
  • Does not make a false statement of material fact on his or her application;
  • Does not have a conviction for any crime involving an inability to safely handle a handgun;
  • Does not have a conviction for violation of the provisions of Title 35, Article 47 within five years of his or her application;
  • Does not have an adjudication as a delinquent child for an act that would be a felony if committed by an adult, if the person applying for a license or permit is less than 23 years of age;
  • Has not been involuntarily committed, other than a temporary commitment for observation or evaluation, to a mental institution by a court, board, commission, or other lawful authority;
  • Has not been adjudicated mentally ill and dangerous or gravely disabled and committed for a ninety day commitment or a regular commitment to a mental health facility;
  • Has not been found by a court to be mentally incompetent, including not guilty by reason of insanity; guilty but mentally ill; or incompetent to stand trial.6

Furthermore, a person is not a “proper person” if he or she:

  • Has a history of minor criminal activity which would give rise to a reasonable belief that he or she has a propensity for violent or emotionally unstable conduct;
  • Is found, upon a standard of reasonable belief, not to be emotionally stable; or
  • Makes a false statement of material fact on his or her application.7

A license to carry a handgun may not be issued to any person who:

  • Has been convicted of a felony;
  • Has had a license to carry a handgun suspended, unless the person’s license has been reinstated;
  • Is under 18 years of age;
  • Is under 23 years of age if the person has been adjudicated a delinquent child for an act that would be a felony if committed by an adult; or
  • Has been arrested for a Class A or Class B felony, or any other felony that was committed while armed with a deadly weapon or that involved the use of violence, if a court has found probable cause to believe that the person committed the offense charged.8

Licenses to carry handguns are either “qualified” or “unlimited.”9 A qualified license will be issued for hunting and target practice only. An unlimited license is issued for the purpose of the protection of life and property.

The Superintendent must include information concerning handgun safety rules with every issued license, that:

  • Neither opposes nor supports an individual’s right to bear arms;
  • Is recommended by a nonprofit educational organization that is dedicated to providing education on safe handling and use of firearms;
  • Is prepared by the ISP; and
  • Is approved by the Superintendent.10

Firearms Safety Training

Indiana does not require applicants for a license to carry a handgun to undergo training or testing in firearms safety.

Duration & Renewal

A license to carry a handgun is valid for a period of four years from the date of issue in the case of a “four (4) year license,” but for the lifetime of the individual in the case of a “lifetime license.”11 The licenses of police officers, sheriffs or their deputies, and law enforcement officers of the United States government who have been honorably retired by a lawfully created pension board or its equivalent after 20 or more years of service are lifetime licenses.12 However, lifetime licenses are automatically revoked if the license holder does not remain a “proper person” to carry a handgun.13

Disclosure or Use of Information

The following information is confidential, may not be published, and is not open to public inspection:

  • Information submitted by a person to obtain or renew a license to carry a handgun;
  • Information obtained by a federal, state, or local government entity in the course of an investigation concerning a person who applies to obtain or renew a license to carry a handgun; and
  • The name, address, and any other information that may be used to identify a person who holds a license to carry a handgun issued under this chapter.14

However, information may be released to a government entity for law enforcement purposes or to determine the validity of a license. In addition, general information that does not disclose the identity of a person who holds a license to carry a handgun may be released for purposes of journalistic or academic research.15

Reciprocity

Licenses to carry handguns, issued by other states or foreign countries, will be recognized according to the terms in the license and of the issuing state or country, but only while the holders are not residents of Indiana.16

Also, if the applicant is a resident of another state and has a regular place of business or employment in Indiana, he or she must apply for an Indiana license to carry a handgun to the sheriff of the county in which the applicant has a regular place of business or employment.17

See our Carrying Concealed Weapons policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Ind. Code Ann. §§ 35-47-2-1. []
  2. Id. []
  3. Id. []
  4. See Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-1-8; Schubert v. DeBard, 398 N.E.2d 1339, 1341 (Ind. Ct. App. 1980). []
  5. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-2-3. []
  6. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-1-7. []
  7. 240 Ind. Admin. Code 3-1-1. []
  8. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-2-3. []
  9. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-2-4(a). []
  10. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-2-3. Additional application and background check requirements, as well as permit suspension and disqualification information, are detailed under Ind. Code Ann. §§ 35-47-2-3 through 35-47-2-6. []
  11. Ind. Code Ann. §§ 35-47-2-3; 35-47-2-4. []
  12. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-2-3. []
  13. Id. []
  14. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-2-3. []
  15. Id. []
  16. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-2-21. []
  17. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-2-3(a)(3). []

Dealer Regulations in Indiana

Posted on Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

Federal law requires firearms dealers to obtain a license from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), although resource limitations prevent the ATF from properly overseeing all its licensees.

Indiana requires that any person who sells, trades, transfers, exposes for sale, trade or transfer, or possesses with intent to sell, trade or transfer any handgun must possess, and display at all times, a retail handgun dealer’s license.1

To qualify for a license, an applicant must apply to the sheriff of the county in which he or she resides who must verify the application and conduct an investigation into the applicant’s “character and reputation.”2 The sheriff must forward the application, investigation results and his or her recommendation as to approval or disapproval to the state police. The state police must issue a license if it deems the applicant to be of “good character and reputation” and “a proper person to be licensed.”3 However, no retail dealer’s license may be issued to any person who has been:

  • Convicted of a felony in any state or country; or
  • Adjudicated a delinquent child for an act that would be a felony if committed by an adult in any state or country, if the person applying for the retail dealer’s license is less than 23 years of age.4

A dealer license that was applied for after June 30, 2011, is valid for six years from the date of issue.5

A retail dealer’s business may be carried on only at the site designated in the license, and a separate license is required for each separate retail outlet.6 The license itself must be displayed on the business premises in a prominent place where it can be seen easily by prospective customers.7 In addition, no handgun may be sold in violation of any provision of Chapter 35-47-2 or under any circumstances unless the purchaser is personally known to the seller or presents clear evidence of his or her identity.8

A dealer may not sell, rent, trade, or transfer from the dealer’s inventory a handgun to a person not licensed to carry a handgun under state law until the dealer has:

  • Obtained the completed and signed ATF Form 4473;9
  • Contacted the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) by telephone or electronic means to request a background check; and
  • Received authorization from NICS to transfer the handgun to the prospective purchaser.10

In addition, the dealer must record the NICS transaction number on Form 4473 and retain that form for auditing purposes.11

For laws applicable to both licensed and private firearm sellers, please see the Indiana Private Sales section.

Indiana has no law requiring firearms dealers to initiate a background check prior to transferring a long gun. Nevertheless, prior to transferring a long gun in Indiana, a dealer must initiate the background check required by federal law.12

See our Dealer Regulations policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-2-14, 35-47-2-15(a), (b). []
  2. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-2-15(a) . []
  3. Id. []
  4. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-2-15(f). []
  5. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-2-15(d). []
  6. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-2-16(a). []
  7. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-2-16(b). []
  8. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-2-16(c). []
  9. As specified in Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-2.5-3. []
  10. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-2.5-4(a). []
  11. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-2.5-4(b). []
  12. Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Instant Criminal Background Check System Participation Map, at http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/nics/general-information/participation-map (last visited Oct 24, 2011). []

Ammunition Regulation in Indiana

Posted on Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

Indiana prohibits any person from knowingly or intentionally manufacturing, possessing, transferring or offering to transfer any armor-piercing handgun ammunition.1 “Armor-piercing handgun ammunition” is defined as a cartridge that can be fired in a handgun and, upon firing, expels a metal core that has an outer coating of plastic.2 Note that the federal prohibitions on certain kinds of armor-piercing ammunition also apply.

Indiana does not:

  • Require a license for the sale of ammunition;
  • Require sellers of ammunition to maintain a record of the purchasers;
  • Require a license to purchase or possess ammunition; or
  • Impose a minimum age for the purchase or possession of ammunition.

See our Ammunition Regulation policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-5-11(b). []
  2. Id. []