WomensLaw serves and supports all survivors, no matter their sex or gender.

Legal Information: Indiana

State Gun Laws

View all
Laws current as of November 14, 2023

What is the difference between federal and state gun laws? Why do I need to understand both?

In these gun laws pages, we refer to both “federal gun laws” and “state gun laws.” The major difference between the two has to do with who makes the law, who prosecutes someone who violates the law, and what the penalty is for breaking the law.

One reason why it is important for you to know that there are these two sets of gun laws is so that you can understand all of the possible ways that the abuser might be breaking the law, and you can better protect yourself. Throughout this section, we will be referring mostly to state laws. Be sure to also read our Federal Gun Laws pages to see if any federal laws apply to your situation as well. You will need to read both state and federal laws to see which ones, if any, the abuser might be violating.

If you are calling the police because you believe the abuser has violated a gun law, you do not necessarily need to be able to tell the police which law was violated (state versus federal) but local police cannot arrest someone for violating federal law, only for violating state/local laws. Only federal law enforcement, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (“ATF”), can arrest someone for violating federal laws. If the local police believe that a state law is being violated, they could arrest the abuser and hand the case over to the state prosecutor. If the local police believe a federal law is being violated, hopefully, the police department will notify the ATF or perhaps the U.S. Attorney’s office in your state (which is the federal prosecutor). For information on how you can contact ATF directly to report the violation of federal gun laws, go to Who do I notify if I think the abuser should not have a gun? If the abuser is breaking both state and federal laws, s/he might be prosecuted in both state and federal court.

What is the definition of a felony?

A felony is a more serious crime than a misdemeanor. Throughout these gun law pages, we will refer to laws that make it illegal for someone convicted of a “serious violent felony” to have a gun. Under Indiana law, a serious violent felony means:

  • murder;
  • attempted murder;
  • voluntary manslaughter;
  • reckless homicide not committed by means of a vehicle;
  • battery;
  • domestic battery;
  • aggravated battery;
  • strangulation;
  • kidnapping;
  • criminal confinement;
  • a human or sexual trafficking offense;
  • rape;
  • criminal deviate conduct;
  • child molesting;
  • sexual battery;
  • robbery;
  • carjacking;
  • arson;
  • burglary;
  • assisting a criminal;
  • resisting law enforcement;
  • escape;
  • trafficking with an inmate;
  • criminal organization intimidation;
  • stalking;
  • incest;
  • dealing in or manufacturing cocaine or a narcotic drug;
  • dealing in methamphetamine or manufacturing methamphetamine; or
  • dealing in a schedule I, II, III, IV, or V controlled substance.1

If you are unsure if the abuser was convicted of a serious violent felony, you might want to talk to the prosecutor who handled the criminal case against the abuser to find out or go to the courthouse and search the conviction records.

1 IC § 35-47-4-5(b)

I am a victim of domestic violence and the abuser has a gun. Is that legal?

Indiana state law says that a person cannot have or buy a gun if s/he:

  1. has been convicted of a “serious violent felony;”1
  2. was adjudicated delinquent for a crime that would have been a “serious violent felony” if committed by an adult, and is currently under age 26 or 28 depending on the severity of the crime;2
  3. is subject to an order for protection where the judge has specifically ordered that the respondent cannot have a firearm;3
  4. has been found by a judge to be “dangerous” during a hearing for the seizure and retention of firearms by law enforcement;4
  5. is unlawfully present in the United States;5 or
  6. has been convicted of the crime of domestic battery.6

However, a person who was convicted of domestic battery five or more years ago can petition to have his/her right to possess a firearm restored.7

If any of these situations apply to the abuser, it may be illegal for him/her to have a gun. Also, federal laws, which apply to all states, may restrict an abuser’s right to have a gun. Go to Federal Gun Laws to get more information.

1 IC § 35-47-4-5(c)
2 IC § 35-47-4-9(b)
3 IC § 34-26-5-9(d)(4)
4 IC § 35-47-4-6.5
5 IC § 35-47-4-8(b)
6 IC § 35-47-4-6(a)
7 IC § 35-47-4-7(b)