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Who is a “proper person” for purposes of obtaining an Indiana License to Carry a Handgun?

Indiana has a long connection with personally owned firearms and the industry, such that Indiana is the only state with a lifetime License to Carry a Handgun and Crane Naval Warfare Center in Crane, Indiana being a focal point for military weapons system development. It is not surprising so many Hoosiers have a License to Carry Handgun issued by the Indiana State Police, running into the hundreds of thousands.

Under Indiana law, to be issued a License to Carry a Handgun, a key is the person must be considered a “proper person.”  The Indiana State Police (Firearms Division) is responsible for ultimately approving or denying all Applications for License to Carry a Handgun.  An Application will be denied if the ISP determines, pursuant to Indiana law (and including federal law), that the applicant is not a “proper person” to be issued a License to Carry a Handgun.

Who is a “proper person” is defined in the Indiana Code and Administrative Code.1 There are a few common categories of people who are not proper persons. Among other things, a person must not be prohibited by a court order from possessing a firearm.

Another stipulation is that the Applicant must not have a conviction for a crime for which he or she could have been sentenced to more than one year of incarceration (which is generally a felony under Indiana law).  Thus, most persons with felony convictions are prohibited from possessing firearms under federal law and are not proper persons to be issued a License to Carry.

Most people understand this implication of a felony. However, there are many less obvious requirements, which if not met, will result in a determination that the Applicant is not “proper person” for purposes of obtaining a License to Carry.

For example, many Applicants are not aware that any misdemeanor conviction for a crime of domestic violence will result in a denial of your application (unless a court has restored your rights pursuant to Indiana law).  Another less familiar example is that you must not have a record of being an alcohol or drug abuser.

A final example, and perhaps one of the most common reasons for denial, is that a “proper person” is one who does not make a false statement of material fact on his application.

Because making a material misstatement of fact on your application is a common reason for denial, it is imperative that you disclose your entire criminal history on your application.  However, mistakes happen and people forget.  It is often the case that a denial due to a material misstatement is simply a mistake or an oversight in completing the application.  For example, an applicant may fail to list a criminal charge or arrest that happened 20 or 30 years ago, simply because he had truly forgotten about it.  Or there could be an issue of “mistaken identity,” where another person with the same or similar name as the applicant has a criminal history.  Thus, it will appear that the applicant has a criminal history and failed to disclose it, which results in a denial because the applicant is considered not a “proper person.”

If your Application is denied for failing to meet the requirements of a “proper person,” and you still desire to carry a handgun, you must provide ISP with a written request for an appeal within the timeframe specified in your denial letter.  An administrative hearing is required to sort through and correct these complex issues of firearms law.

Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. represents individuals through the state with Application denials.  This blog post is not intended as legal advice.  Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. practices throughout the state of Indiana.  This blog post was written by Abigail Sloan.

  1. See Ind. Code IC 35-47-1-7

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Dixon & Moseley, P.C., is a law firm located in Indianapolis, Indiana. We serve clients in six core practice areas: family lawappellate practicefirearms lawgeneral practicepersonal injury and criminal law.

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