VIGO CO, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — If passed, a bill currently in the Indiana Senate would no longer require Indiana residents to obtain a license or permit to carry a handgun.

Indiana adult residents who can get a permit to carry a handgun would no longer need that certificate under House Bill 1077. This bill would also make the theft of a firearm a level 5 felony.

However, Vigo County Sheriff John Plasse said he opposes the bill and advocates the state stay with its current procedure.

“It’s got safeguards built in it for our community and law enforcement for people that has to deal with them,” Plasse said. “We see a lot of people who have weapons now who shouldn’t. By allowing this to occur, it would only open the flood gates.”

Currently, residents looking to obtain handgun permits must file with the Indiana State Police. That process includes fingerprinting and background checks.

According to Plasse, 10,000 applicants were denied in 2020 and 2021 by ISP. Of those applicants, 4,300 had felony convictions.

“We can’t afford that many weapons to be out on the streets,” Plasse said. “My fear is that [those were people] who tried to get them who weren’t qualified. If there’s no background check, there’s no process, how many more thousands are going to get weapons that shouldn’t?”

HB 1077 would prohibit certain individuals, such as those with felony convictions, from obtaining handguns and would also create the crime of “unlawful carrying of a handgun.” Vigo County resident Joshua Albright said he only sees permits valuable for reciprocity.

“Really kind of feel like they’re irrelevant,” Albright said. “Whenever you’re purchasing a firearm they do a background check. If you’re someone with bad intentions, you’re going to get ahold of a fire arm no matter what.”

MyWabashValley.com reached out to Sgt. Matt Ames with the Indiana State Police regarding the bill.

“Indiana State Police does not publicly comment on pending legislation,” Ames said.

This is a developing story. Follow MyWabashValley.com for updates.