Indianapolis's hope of creating "gun-free" neighborhood dashed

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

The Bruen decision said that yes, some areas can be gun-free zones. These are described as “sensitive places.”

Yet not everywhere is a sensitive place. Despite what states like New York and Massachusetts seem to be wanting to do, not everywhere should be gun-free.


What about areas where the property owners want to be free of guns, particularly after a deadly incident? Do they have a right to turn the whole neighborhood into a gun-free zone?

That’s what one district in Indianapolis wanted to do. They’re now learning to deal with disappointment.

Just hours after three people were gunned down and killed in Broad Ripple’s entertainment district in June, officials announced their intent to try and keep guns out of the area.

Authorities announced an arrest Thursday in connection with the shooting, but the gun-free zone requested by the Broad Ripple Village Association is still not in place and may never pan out.

Three months ago, Mayor Joe Hogsett, Police Chief Randal Taylor and other city officials stood behind the podium at the Sunday morning press conference as a village association board member announced plans to request the gun-free zone for Friday and Saturday nights.

“If this permit is approved, I have pledged my full support that IMPD and other city agencies will provide the resources and support to enforce this reasonable request,” Hogsett told reporters.

Logistical issues have stood in the way of Broad Ripple gun-free zone

Several factors have stood in the way of the village association making the request and for now association officials say that they do not expect to see the area become a gun-free zone any time soon.

“We are not closing the door on it (the gun-free zone) but as it stands right now, it’s not something we can successfully pull off,” said Jordan Dillon, executive director of the Broad Ripple Village Association. “The city was very open and willing to support us on it but there were certain things we had to do on our own. That’s kind of where it started to crumble.”


Part of the issue is that creating the district as a gun-free zone would require a permit via the city’s permitting law, yet that permit is only a short-term thing. They’d need one for every Friday and Saturday night, which would be a logistical nightmare.

Then there were issues of exactly where the borders of this zone would be.

Yet even without those, actually eliminating guns in the district would be impossible.

See, if you want to eliminate guns in a given area, there are a few things you’d need to do first. One is that you’d have to eliminate all access points except for a couple. Those remaining would need things like metal detectors so that each person entering is checked for weapons.

Then, maybe, you could keep most firearms out. Someone would still find a way to get a gun in if they really, really wanted, but it would be much harder.

Now, do you think an entire section of town–a section that seemingly focuses on partying–would be willing to put up tall chainlink fencing and have metal detectors at the remaining access points? Especially when you consider how Google describes the area:

Broad Ripple has a free-spirited vibe, with laid-back cafes, global eateries, lively brewpubs and happening clubs. Emerging and big-name acts play at storied music venue The Vogue, and indie shops sell records, handicrafts and vintage clothing. Broad Ripple Park has views of the White River, while the Monon Rail Trail, popular with joggers and cyclists, cuts through the area, linking to the Central Canal Towpath.


So yeah, the whole “gun-free zone” was never going to happen, and not just because the city wasn’t tripping over itself to facilitate this. Broad Ripple wants to be a cool, “free-spirited” place, well, that means resembling a prison isn’t on the agenda.

It never will be.


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