Federal law establishes a baseline national standard regarding individuals’ eligibility to acquire and possess firearms. Under federal law, people are generally prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms if they have been convicted of a felony or some domestic violence misdemeanors, or if they are subject to certain court orders related to domestic violence or a serious mental condition. However, federal law merely provides a floor, and has notable gaps that allow individuals who have demonstrated significant risk factors for violence or self-harm to legally acquire and possess guns.
Indiana law generally prohibits people from possessing firearms if they have been convicted of a “serious violent felony,”1 which is generally defined to include, among other things, violent conduct that results in serious bodily injury,2 involves battery with a deadly weapon,3 or stalking with credible threats of serious bodily injury or death.4
Indiana also generally prohibits firearm possession until age 26 or 28 (depending on the severity of the felony) for people who have been adjudicated delinquent as a child for an offense that would be a serious violent felony if committed by an adult, if they were armed with a firearm during commission of the offense.5
Indiana also prohibits firearm possession by people convicted of “domestic battery,” which includes both felony and misdemeanor domestic violence crimes, depending on the circumstances.6 Indiana courts may also prohibit certain people from possessing firearms when issuing some types of domestic violence protective orders. (See Domestic Violence & Firearms in Indiana for more information about these restrictions).
However, people convicted of other violent felonies (those not designated as “serious violent felonies”) are generally not prohibited from possessing firearms under Indiana law (though federal firearm restrictions generally apply), including violent conduct resulting in “moderate bodily injury,”7 intentional strangulation,8 threatening violence, even while drawing or using a deadly weapon,9 and shooting into an inhabited building.10 Indiana also does not prohibit people convicted of other violent misdemeanors from accessing firearms.
Indiana law also generally prohibits people from possessing firearms if:
- A court has determined that they are “dangerous” to self or others pursuant to a court hearing11 (for more information, see Extreme Risk Protection Orders in Indiana);12 or
- They are unlawfully present in the United States;13
Indiana also prohibits a person from transferring a handgun to an individual whom the transferor knows:
- Is ineligible for any reason other than the person’s age to receive a handgun from a dealer; or
- Intends to use the handgun to commit a crime.14
For information on the background check process used to enforce these provisions, see Background Check Procedures in Indiana. For information about laws regarding relinquishment of firearms from people who become prohibited from accessing them, see the Firearm Relinquishment in Indiana section.
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- Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-4-5.
- Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-4-5(b)(4); e.g., “Battery,” Ind. Code Ann. § 35-42-2-1(g).
- Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-4-5(b); Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-10-5.
- Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-4-9.
- Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-4-6.
- Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-4-5(b)(4); “Battery,” Ind. Code Ann. § 35-42-2-1(e).
- Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-4-5(b); Ind. Code Ann. § 35-42-2-9.
- Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-4-5(b); Ind. Code Ann. § 35-45-2-1(b).
- Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-4-5(b); Ind. Code Ann. § 35-42-2-2(b)(2).
- Conducted under section 35-47-4-6.
- Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-4-6.5; 35-47-4-6.7.
- Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-4-8.
- Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-2-7(b).