Broad Ripple Gun Event Sparks Controversy

'Occupy Broad Ripple With Guns' Fires Up Business Owners

A group of licensed gun owners urged people to bring their firearms to Broad Ripple on Saturday to raise awareness about the recent crime spike in the area.

As dozens of gun owners gathered at the rally, other Hoosiers in the area voiced concerns on if the event was necessary.

John Hallgrath organized the Occupy Broad Ripple With Guns rally and he envisioned the event as a public awareness campaign.

"We just want to hand out literature to inform people on how to get gun permits, and other means of self-protection and training," Hallgrath said.

Some people in opposition of the rally have alleged that Hallgrath is linked to a white supremacy group and was using the rally to recruit new members.

Hallgrath has denied the allegations, RTV6's Myrt Price reported.

After hearing about the rally, some Broad Ripple business owners weren’t pleased.

"We don't allow weapons in here at all," said Larry Niehaus, owner of Broad Ripple Pub. "I don't think any problem gets solved with loaded handguns, especially in an area where alcohol is the source of enjoyment."

Serena Vela works at Za’s Pizza and said someone working the event handed her a flyer that featured an unnerving message.

"The flyer kind of hurt me a little bit, especially on the third page because it says a noose for Mexicans and African-Americans," Vela said.

Customer Bart Zino didn’t think the rally was a good idea.

"I'm just uncomfortable with the whole idea of people with guns in public like that," Zino said.

Many Broad Ripple bar owners said they may consider placing “no weapons allowed signs” in their windows to keep the peace.

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