Indiana lawmakers vote to let some state officials carry handguns on Capitol grounds

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Some Indiana officials, including the attorney general and the secretary of state, could carry handguns in the state Capitol under a bill approved Monday by state lawmakers, who already can do so inside the complex.

The new bill authored by a Republican lawmaker would allow the state attorney general, secretary of state, treasurer and comptroller and their staff members to carry a handgun if they are not otherwise barred by state or federal law.

The bill now advances to the House.

Guns are allowed in U.S. statehouses in some form in 21 states, according to a 2021 review by The Associated Press.

Indiana State Treasurer Daniel Elliott testified in favor of the bill this month.

“I believe it is something elected officials should be able to decide for their own staff," he told lawmakers.

The attorney general, secretary of state and comptroller support the bill, Elliott said. Representatives for Secretary of State Diego Morales and Attorney General Todd Rokita confirmed their support.

“Our office fully supports this legislation because we have a Constitutional right to keep and bear arms in this nation,” Rokita's office said in a statement. "We believe this is a commonsense measure to promote safety that deserves quick passage.”

Individual offices can write their own policies regarding carrying a handgun, the legislation says.

According to Indiana law, members of the general assembly and their staff who possess a valid license to carry a handgun may do so in the state Capitol and on the complex grounds.

Indiana in 2022 repealed a state law requiring a permit to carry a handgun in public. The new bill advanced Monday would also roll back the license requirement for members of the General Assembly and their staffs on Capitol grounds.

Metal detectors are in place at public entrances on Capitol grounds. State employees with a valid access badge do not have to walk through detectors to enter the buildings.