Firearm background checks reaching records in Indiana


Whether it’s for sport or protection, more and more Hoosiers are heading to the gun store to purchase firearms.

Background checks at Kodiak Firing Range and Training Facility in South Bend are up 64 percent from last January – April.

The South Bend Tribune reports FBI statistics show retailers more than doubled the number of background checks in the first four month of 2016 compared to last year.

Nationally, background checks are up 34 percent but Indiana is on track to break a record of more than one million checks in 2016.
Some residents say crime in their neighborhoods have them concerned for their own protection.

“There was a shooting less than a block away from my house. There’s been a few murders and break-ins and evidentially gang activity in Goshen,” says Deana Hettinger.

Hettinger lives alone with her daughter and is just one of a number of Hoosiers who are looking to get a new piece of protection.

Taylor Axelberg lives in South Bend and echoes similar reasons for wanting to purchase a gun.

“If there was a burglar or someone who came in that was armed I’d like to be able to defend my family and be able to protect them from that,” says Axelberg. “If I had something to arm myself other than just my bare hands then I would feel more confident to get that threat out of my house.”

“Some people don’t feel safe, that’s why we get a lot of people coming in here, especially if there’s something about a crime or a break in says,” Kodiak Firing Range Manager, John Pemberton.

He says it’s not just crime that brings people in.

“Terrorist attacks are another reason that can influx it. Politicians talk about taking guns away you’ll see an influx,” says Pemberton.

An FBI background check takes 5 -10 minutes, but once a person passes they can purchase the gun as long they do not have felony, prior drug or alcohol abuse, or have a history of violence.

Pemberton says they’re asking question of their own even before the background check.

“A couple was coming in and it was obvious it wasn’t for the wife, it was for the husband and we then asked him hey can you do a background check and he refused to do it so that was a huge red flag for us and that’s when he basically left,” he says.

Pemberton says instance like that are rare and people who complete background checks at his store rarely do anything illegal with a gun.

To legally carry a handgun in Indiana, you must register with the state and local police; however, South Bend residents must register with St. Joe County Police.

People can apply with ISP online. Then there’s a 90 day limit to get fingerprinted and pay a $50 permit fee.

You can be denied a permit if you have a felony on your record, prior drug or alcohol abuse or have a history of violence.

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