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Indy launches first ‘Gun Free Zone’ for WonderRoad Music Festival in Garfield Park

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The first official city government-backed gun-free zone will be in effect in Garfield Park when the two-day WonderRoad Music Festival kicks off Saturday afternoon.

These gun-free zones are part of Mayor Joe Hogsett’s second phase of the citywide violence reduction strategy. The city is providing additional support for private events that are on leased public spaces when organizers opt to make events gun-free.

The city first announced the upcoming “Gun Free Zones” on Wednesday.

The Democrat mayor said during a news conference Thursday at the park that Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department “will be on hand to provide added security before, during, and after this event.”

Aryn Schounce, director of Indianapolis government affairs, says event organizers must have a special-event permit, a secure perimeter, an event map approved by the city, and staff to man entry and exit points, and use Evolv weapon-detection sensors.

“It does have to be organized by a private-event organizer,” Schounce said. “So right now, we are limited under state law to be able to declare Garfield Park a ‘Gun Free Zone’ as a blanket.”

The Evolv sensors use artificial intelligence and cameras to pinpoint who has a gun as people enter the festival.

“People walk right through it. They don’t take their phones out. They don’t take their keys out. They don’t stop,” said Anil Chitkara, co-founder of Evolv Technology. “They move right through it, and, if the technology detects a potential threat, the security operator is alerted. There is a picture of the individual and a location of where that threat might be, and the security team resolved that threat.”

Event production business Elevation Group and event management company MOKB Presents organized the festival and expect from 14,000-15,000 people of all ages.

Steve Lindecke, co-founder and chief operating officer of Elevation Festivals, says they are committed to safety at all their events. “We have a dozen off-duty police officers here who we trust. I actually want them to stand there with their arms crossed on a hill watching everything and not have to do a whole lot of work. That’s a successful weekend.”

City government leaders at Thursday’s news conference said they were willing to help any event organizer in Marion County create “Gun Free Zones.”

Hogsett announced the second phase of his gun violence reduction strategy at the end of May. On Tuesday, councilors on the Indianapolis City-County Council’s Administration and Finance Committee voted to approve funding to hire three attorneys to prosecute gun crimes in Marion County at the federal level.

On Wednesday, the Public Safety and Criminal Justice Committee voted to add gun control ordinances in Indianapolis that would only be enforceable if a state law preempting local governments from creating gun ordinances was overturned.

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