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Businesses react to 2019 NRA conference in Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) -- The NRA convention is a huge money maker for cities that host it. It brought in millions of dollars to Indianapolis in the past. But that didn't stop one leader in Dallas from pushing for it to be moved elsewhere.

Indianapolis plans to host the event in 2019 and in 2023. So far, local leaders have not expressed opposition. But businesses had mixed feelings.

Indy Arms knows better than anybody that the National Rifle Association's convention is good for business.

"It brings people in. As people are attending the NRA show and they want something to do, we do see increased traffic in the store," said manager Mark Welter.

Indy hosted the convention in 2014. According to Visit Indy, more than 75,000 people attended and it brought in more than $55 million. However, Dallas city-council member Dwaine Caraway is less concerned about the financial benefit. He's speaking out against the convention after the most recent school shooting in Florida that left 17 dead.

"I don't think that responsible gun owners are to be held accountable for the actions of an individual who is clearly bent on committing a criminal act," said Welter.

Nick Roberts of Mobile King is working hard to get his business to take off. He spent Tuesday afternoon on Monument Circle, passing out fliers advertising 25 percent off anything at his new downtown location.

"We're a new cell phone repair shop. We also do computers and gaming systems; free pickup and delivery downtown," he said.

But there are limitations to what Mobile King is willing to do.

"As a business perspective, I wouldn't want the NRA's business. Just personally, how I feel it would do to our community," Roberts said. "With easy access to guns or semi automatics, or you know, the higher rifle type, it should be a little more restricted."

Visit Indy booked next year's convention in 2014. It likely won't go anywhere, nor will the perspectives of Mobile King or Indy Arms.

"The real question is, is this something our Circle City is willing to accommodate?" asked Roberts.

Welter added, "I would be severely disappointed. I think if you can pardon the pun, the city would be shooting itself in the foot."

24-Hour News 8 reached out to Mayor Joe Hogsett's office for comment, he did not get back with us. Visit Indy says Indianapolis hosts more than 550 conventions a year from a variety of business sectors.

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