Indiana Gun Laws


The State of Indiana stands out on the topic of reciprocal carry in two (2) ways.  First, a statutory reciprocity scheme recognizes all other states’ licenses to carry a handgun, except Vermont.

Second, Indiana was the first state to adopt a lifetime license to carry.  Upon initial application or renewal, a person may pay additional fees and obtain a lifetime license to carry a handgun.  So long has he/she remains a “proper person,” the license remains valid for life and no renewal is required.  Open carry is legal in Indiana with a valid license to carry.

For orientation purposes in reciprocal carry or interstate transportation, Indiana is bordered on the north by Michigan, on the east by Ohio and on the west by Illinois.  The Ohio River physically separates Indiana from the State of Kentucky.

A. State Constitution

Regarding the right to bear arms, the Indiana Constitution states:

“The people shall have a right to bear arms, for the defense of themselves and the State.”


B. Scope of Preemption

Generally, no unit of government may regulate in any manner the ownership, possession, sale, transfer, or transportation of firearms or ammunition.


C. Reciprocal Carry

By statute, Indiana will recognize another state’s license to carry:

“Licenses to carry handguns, issued by other states or foreign countries, will be recognized according to the terms thereof but only while the holders are not residents of Indiana.”

Indiana’s most current reciprocity information may be referenced online.


D. Duty to Inform Officers

Indiana does not require individuals to inform a LEO of a permit or license to carry but if an Officer asks about a weapon, by law, an answer must be supplied.

E. Carrying Firearms in Vehicles

Indiana permits anyone who is legally allowed to own a gun to carry a long gun in their vehicle, without a permit.  Someone without a permit may only carry a handgun if it is unloaded, not readily accessible, and secured in a case, AND the vehicle is owned, leased, rented, or otherwise legally controlled by the person carrying the handgun.


F. NFA Items

Indiana permits the ownership of all NFA items, provided they are legally owned pursuant to federal law.  Suppressors may also be used while hunting.

G. Self-defense Laws

Indiana has both Castle Doctrine and SYG laws.  There is no duty to retreat when attacked in any place You have a legal right to be.  You may also use reasonable force to arrest or prevent the escape of a person who has just committed a felony. You may use deadly force in defense of yourself or others if You reasonably believe it is necessary to prevent imminent death, SBI, the commission of a forcible felony, or to stop the unlawful & forcible entry into Your dwelling, residence, occupied motor vehicle, or to prevent the hijacking of an airplane while in flight.

In addition, a law passed in 2012 expands the castle doctrine to allow the use of force against public servants (such as LEO) if You reasonably believe it is necessary to:

(1) protect the person or a third person from what the person reasonably believes to be the imminent use of unlawful force;
(2) prevent or terminate the public servant’s unlawful entry of or attack on the person’s dwelling, curtilage, or occupied motor vehicle; or
(3) prevent or terminate the public servant’s unlawful trespass on or criminal interference with property lawfully in the person’s possession, lawfully in possession of a member of the person’s immediate family, or belonging to a person whose property the person has authority to protect.

This law allows the use of deadly force if necessary to prevent death or SBI if You reasonably believe the public servant is either acting unlawfully or not engaged in executing their official duties.

NOTE:  despite the above law, it is extremely inadvisable to use force against the police, and doing so will almost certainly result in You being prosecuted (even if You aren’t convicted), or may cause the police officer to shoot You.  Determining whether or not the actions of LEO are lawful is usually a complex legal question that requires careful deliberation by lawyers and does not lend itself well to snap decisions made in the heat of the moment.  If You use force against a public servant whose actions turn out to be lawful, You can expect to be charged with resisting arrest, assault on a police officer, or a number of other serious felonies.  The safest and most prudent course of action will almost always be to cooperate with the LEO and challenge their actions in court later.

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A recent court case, Cupello v. State, applied the Indiana law authorizing the use of force against public servants, and overturned a man’s conviction for battery against a police officer on the grounds of self-defense.  In that case, an off duty cop stuck his foot in the doorway of an apartment while questioning the occupant, and the occupant slammed the door on the cop, hitting his foot.  The court ruled that slamming the door was a reasonable use of force to terminate an unlawful entry into the dwelling.

Cupello v. State, 27 N.E.3d 1122, 1129 (Ind. Ct. App. 2015)


H. Age to Purchase Handguns and Carry Permit

You only need to be 18 to purchase a handgun or handgun ammunition from a private party in Indiana.  In addition, the minimum age for obtaining an Indiana carry permit is 18.  Indiana is a shall issue state, and offers both 4 year and lifetime carry permits.

I. Private Transfers

Indiana has few laws regulating the private transfer of firearms between two Indiana residents, and these laws only address the private sale of handguns, not long guns.  Private transfers are not subject to background checks.  Indiana prohibits selling handguns to people under 18 (except transfers from parents/guardians to their children).  It is illegal to sell or transfer a handgun to anyone You know is prohibited from owning a handgun or intends to use the firearm in the commission of a crime, but You do not have a duty to conduct an inquiry or actively investigate whether the prospective buyer is a prohibited person.  Private transfers are the only way for people under 21 to legally obtain handguns.  When selling a firearm to a private party, You should ask for identification to show that the purchaser is a resident of Indiana.  An Indiana CCP is the best form of ID because it also shows that the purchaser is not a prohibited person.

J. Out of State Firearm Purchases

Indiana residents may purchase long guns from an FFL in any state and take the firearm back to Indiana without having to ship it to an FFL located in IN, so long as the state of purchase allows sales to people from out of state.  If You buy a handgun from an FFL or any firearm from a private party in another state, that firearm must be shipped to an Indiana FFL for pick up.  Indiana allows residents of other states to purchase long guns from an Indiana FFL.

K. Firearms at Work

Most employers are not allowed to adopt or enforce policies that forbid employees from keeping firearms and ammunition in their vehicle, even on the employer’s premises.  Holders of a CCP have the right to store guns in their cars without fear of punishment, so long as the firearm is locked in the trunk, in the glove box of a locked vehicle, or stored out of sight within a locked vehicle.  Employers may still ban guns from the property of child care centers, domestic violence shelters, college campuses, penal facilities, or secured locations.


L. Criminal Provisions

Under Indiana law, a license to carry a handgun does not permit carry in any of the following places or circumstances:

  • Knowingly or intentionally pointing a firearm at another
  • Aboard a commercial or charter aircraft
  • An area of an airport to which access is controlled by the inspection of persons and property
  • In or on school property, property being used by a school for a school function, or a school bus (except for possession inside a motor vehicle being used to transport another to or from a school or school function)
  • Discharge of a firearm in a park, where not designated for hunting or firearm sport
  • Inside a Riverboat Casino or shipping port. 130 IAC 4-1-10
  • Firearms must be locked in a vehicle during the Annual State Fair. 80 IAC 4-4-4
  • Any building that contains a courtroom, but the restriction does not apply to areas of the building occupied by residential tenants or private businesses

For a list of places where carrying a firearm is forbidden, see: []