The National Rifle Association Convention gets underway downtown Thursday and before the weekend is over some 70,000 people will attend. Many of them will be armed, including New Jersey gun owner Anthony Colandro.
“As long as it’s legal and legally posted,” he said, “I will carry a gun.”
A convention priority for NRA members is the push for a new federal law. It would require all 50 states to recognize concealed carry gun permits from other states. Indiana already does.
That means a good percentage of downtown visitors will be armed. And that’s a prospect that bothers some people, including David Mason.
“It makes me nervous,” he said. “I wouldn’t bring my kids down here or my grandkids.”
But more than half a million people hold a gun permit in Indiana. Lieutenant Pete Wood is an attorney for the State Police who says it is safe to assume that a number of people are armed in downtown Indianapolis every day.
He points out that if you have an Indiana gun permit there are few restrictions.
“For the most part,” he said, “a license to carry a handgun allows you to carry a handgun in any public area.”
It’s one reason why Indianapolis chosen as the site for the convention. The NRA says there is no reason for concern.
“The NRA members are probably the most law abiding group at a convention that you’ll ever get,” said NRA spokesperson Catherine Mortenson.
Anthony Colandro, for one, predicts that crime will go down during the time the NRA is in town.