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IMPD increases patrols in the city for the NRA conference



Indianapolis, Indiana – The annual NRA meeting in Indianapolis is expected to draw 70,000 people through Sunday.

One of the four biggest conferences in the city this year, the conference is anticipated to have a $36 million economic impact on the area, filling almost all of the hotel rooms in downtown Indianapolis and providing housing for guests in the nearby regions.

”This is such a massive citywide convention that they book anywhere from five to seven to even ten years in advance,” said Visit Indy Vice President Chris Gahl who recalled this is the third time in ten years Indianapolis has hosted the guns rights group. ”We have eleven exhibit halls in the Indiana Convention Center. They’re using nearly every single square inch of the Indiana Convention Center for a massive trade show with more than 800 exhibitors so there’ll be firearms and art and camping gear.”

Although delegates are allowed to carry loaded firearms on the premises, there won’t be any gun sales at the conference and trade exhibition.

”In accordance with Indiana state law, those coming in with a badge and are NRA members to attend the conference can carry a firearm,” said Gahl.

“On Friday there is an exception when the building is in use for the dignitaries to speak like President Trump and Vice President Pence, no firearms will be allowed within that space during that time frame.”

When it comes to ensuring security for Trump and Pence, Governor Holcomb, and other prominent politicians who will be speaking in Exhibit Hall A tomorrow afternoon, IMPD has consulted with the U.S. Secret Service.

”We’re looking at what is happening on the national stage. We’ve just had two high-profile incidents in Tennessee and then in Louisville, Kentucky, and people feel a certain way about that,” said IMPD Deputy Chief Joshua Barker.

In order to keep protesters safe, Hudnut Commons, which is located across Maryland Street from the convention center, has been designated.

”In addition to staffing the area with added resources from our special operations bureau, I think that its important for the public to also be aware that we’ve stepped up our routine patrol numbers on the downtown district especially during those peak hours,” said Barker who will assign more officers to patrol parking lots downtown as many gun owners are expected to leave their weapons in their vehicles during the course of the conference. ”My message to the public is, to the responsible gun owners who are coming down to the convention to enjoy what the NRA is bringing I ask you to be extra responsible with the storage of your weapons. Don’t leave unsecured weapons inside of a vehicle because there are people down there who will try to exploit what they know is coming to the convention center and that’s going to run the risk of increasing once legally possessed firearms into the hands of criminals.”

Indianapolis is a preferred destination for the NRA’s annual conference, according to Barker, since Indiana has a history of having liberal gun restrictions and because recent legislation eliminated the state’s gun permit system.

”We have pushed out reminder information to our officers about how to responsibly come into contact and interact with persons who are openly carrying. I think one of the draws of the NRA coming to Indianapolis is Indianapolis has always been a concealed carry state. Now with the new legislation we’re a permitless carry state, we’re a constitutional carry state so I think that’s appealing to the convention. I think that bodes well for us because our officers are used to dealing with that.”

Gahl stated that Visit Indy would meet with NRA representatives to ascertain whether they would be coming back to Indianapolis in the future.