FAIRFAX, Va.– The National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) awarded Indiana State Representatives Jim Lucas and Ben Smaltz the Defender of Freedom Award at the 148th National Rifle Association Annual Meeting (NRAAM) in Indianapolis on Saturday, April 27.
“This year Jim Lucas and Ben Smaltz succeeded in passing legislation to expand self-defense options for Hoosiers,” said Chris Kopacki, NRA-ILA Indiana state director. “This award honors Lucas and Smaltz for leading the fight in Indiana to promote our fundamental right to self-protection.”
The Defender of Freedom Award is awarded to individuals who have distinguished themselves in preserving and protecting our Second Amendment rights.
“I thank Representatives Lucas and Smaltz for their unwavering commitment to freedom,” concluded Kopacki.
At the NRAAM in Indianapolis, Gov. Eric Holcomb signed into law Lucas and Smaltz’s comprehensive gun rights bill that makes it easier for law-abiding Hoosiers to defend themselves. The new law, which includes proposals introduced by both Lucas and Smaltz, expands self-defense options in the following ways:
- eliminates state fees for a new five-year state License to Carry a Handgun (LTCH);
- allows law-abiding gun owners greater ability to carry for self-protection in churches;
- allows gun owners to register to vote when they apply for a LTCH.
Under this new law, honest, hard-working gun owners will no longer be forced to pay taxes and fees to exercise a fundamental right that ought to be free. This law ends this abuse and ensures that the most vulnerable gun owners are able to protect themselves without worrying about the cost of a license.
Additionally, the new law provides greater protection to gun owners. Previously, an undue burden was on the defendant in exercising the right to self-defense. Under the new law, that burden is shifted. In addition, a person who acts in self-defense and is later forced to defend themselves a second time in court can be reimbursed for the legal fees associated with their defense.
Established in 1871, the National Rifle Association is America's oldest civil rights and sportsmen's group. More than five million members strong, NRA continues to uphold the Second Amendment and advocates enforcement of existing laws against violent offenders to reduce crime. The Association remains the nation's leader in firearm education and training for law-abiding gun owners, law enforcement and the armed services. Be sure to follow the NRA on Facebook at NRA on Facebook and Twitter @NRA.