Indiana has a process similar to an extreme risk protection order that allows law enforcement to remove firearms from people who pose a risk to themselves or others.
Under Indiana law, a “dangerous individual” is defined to include a person who:
- Presents an imminent risk of personal injury to himself, herself or another person; or
- It is probable that the individual will present a risk of personal injury to himself, herself or another person in the future and he or she:
– Has a mental illness that may be controlled by medication, and has not demonstrated a pattern of voluntarily and consistently taking the individual’s medication while not under supervision; or
– Is the subject of documented evidence that would give rise to a reasonable belief that he or she has a propensity for violent or suicidal conduct.1
A circuit or superior court may issue a warrant to search for and seize a firearm in the possession of a “dangerous individual” if:
- A law enforcement officer provides the court a sworn affidavit describing the facts that have led the officer to believe the individual is dangerous and in possession of a firearm. The affidavit must also describe the officer’s interactions and conversations with:
– The individual who is alleged to be dangerous; or
– Another individual, if the law enforcement officer believes that information obtained from this individual is credible and reliable;
- The affidavit specifically describes the location of the firearm; and
- The circuit or superior court determines that probable cause exists to believe that the individual is dangerous and in possession of a firearm.2
Law enforcement officers may seize firearms from any individual whom the law enforcement officer believes to be dangerous without obtaining a warrant. In such an instance, the officer must submit to the court having jurisdiction over the individual an affidavit describing the basis for the officer’s belief that the individual is dangerous within 48-hours of the seizure.3
If the court finds that probable cause exists to believe the individual is dangerous, the court shall order the law enforcement agency having custody of the firearm to retain the firearm.4 Following the seizure of firearms with or without a warrant, a law enforcement agency must file a search warrant return with the court setting forth the quantity and type of each firearm seized.5
If the court finds that there is no such probable cause, the court shall order the law enforcement agency having custody of the firearm to return the firearm to the individual.6
After the filing of a search warrant return or an affidavit following a warrantless search, the court shall conduct a hearing as soon as possible but no later than 14 days following the filing of the return or affidavit.7 At the hearing, the state must prove by clear and convincing evidence that the individual is dangerous as defined.
If the court determines that the state has met its burden of proof, the court shall issue a written order:
- ordering the law enforcement agency having custody of the seized firearm to retain the firearm;
- ordering the individual’s license to carry a handgun, if applicable, suspended; and
- prohibiting the individual from possessing, owning, purchasing, or receiving a firearm.
The court must also determine whether the individual should be referred to further proceedings to consider whether the individual should be involuntarily detained or committed.
If the court finds that the individual is dangerous, the clerk shall transmit the order to the office of judicial administration for transmission to NICS.8
If a court orders a law enforcement agency to retain individual’s firearm, the individual may petition the court for a determination that he or she is no longer dangerous at least 180 days after the initial ruling.9 The petitioner must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that he or she is not dangerous to obtain the firearm.10
Prior to one year from the date the order is issued, the state must prove by clear and convincing evidence that the individual is still dangerous and, if the court finds the state has met its burden of proof, the order will be continued and the respondent must wait 180 days to petition to terminate the order as described above.11
If the court has ordered the law enforcement agency to retain possession of the firearm, the respondent may petition the court to require the agency to transfer the firearm(s) to a “responsible third party” or a federally licensed gun dealer.12 A “responsible third party”13 is someone who:
- does not cohabitate with the person found to be dangerous in the hearing;
- is a proper person (as defined under section 35-47-1-7) who may lawfully possess a firearm; and
- is willing to enter into a written court agreement to accept the transfer of the firearm as a responsible third party.
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- Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-14-1(a).
- Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-14-2.
- Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-14-3(a), (b).
- Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-14-3(b).
- Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-14-2(b), 3(e).
- Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-14-3(b).
- Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-14-5.
- Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-14-6.
- Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-14-8(a).
- Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-14-8(e).
- Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-14-8(e), (g).
- Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-14-10.
- Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-14-1.5.