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Indianapolis businesses prepare for armed customers during NRA convention

Posted: 12:17 AM, Apr 23, 2019
Updated: 2019-04-23 12:05:12-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Thousands of people, including President Donald Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence, will visit Indianapolis this week for the NRA's annual convention.

Ahead of the meeting, businesses are preparing for an influx of out-of-towners who might be carrying concealed weapons. Many don't mind armed guests, but some business owners are worried about firearms in their stores.

The NRA convention is prompting some downtown businesses to take a stand for safety and a stand against firearms in their stores by posting signs that ask customers to not carry guns into their stores.

"People being able to feel like they have a sense of security means more than people think it does," Dianna Norris, a manager at Global Gifts on Massachusetts Avenue, said. "I talked to the staff and got a kind of general consensus, and we all agreed that we would like to put it up in the window for at least that week."

The sign came from Mom's Demand Action Indiana. The group describes itself on its Facebook page as a "non-partisan movement of Americans demanding reasonable solutions to address our nation's culture of gun violence."

"They're a little concerned with how many people come to the convention and just everyone walking around carrying their guns," Norris said. "I do agree with people wanting to feel safe being wherever they're at, so we put it up in our window."

Indiana has a firearm reciprocity law, and Indiana State Police recommend using resources like USACarry.com, which says Indiana honors concealed carry permits from U.S. states and territories, excluding only Vermont.

How much protection does the sign bring? In Indiana, guns are banned at schools, airports and planes, but a sign at a business isn't enforceable under law, but if someone asks you to leave a private business, you must leave or you could face trespassing charges.

"We would just ask that they kindly leave. That we do have the policy for the week," Norris said.

We spotted the sign at a couple businesses, and it will stay up at Global Gifts during the convention. Other business owners said they wouldn't put up the sign because they wouldn't want to scare away potential customers.

"If it were up to me, I think every place in town would have (a sign)," Jeff McGaw said "I don't feel safer because people are marching around with guns. I don't. In face, I feel less safe."

Regarding conceal carry, the NRA's website says personal firearms will be permitted in the Indiana Convention Center and Lucas Oil Stadium, but firearms will not be allowed at the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum due to the attendance of President Trump.

The NRA convention begins Thursday, and the president and vice president will speak Friday. The NRA's website says there will be no sale of firearms or ammunition during the event.

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