MUNCIE — Ball State University student Hailey Griggs, 21, carries a small gun, a pink one, in a cell-phone-type case in her purse.
“I feel safer,” she said. “And I feel everyone should have the right to carry a gun if they want to.”
She was joined by about 40 other people for an Indiana Moms Against Gun Control rally outside the Delaware County Building.
Many were carrying visible weapons — pistols tucked into the back of their jeans, rifles slung over their shoulders.
Griggs was carrying a “James Bond” gun, visible in a holster on her hip. That one belongs to her dad.
He was standing nearby with a rifle and said he’s the one who encouraged her to start carrying a gun.
“She’s a female and women are the targets of a lot of crime,” Gerald Griggs said. “I want her to be able to defend herself against whatever may come up.”
MeLinda Porter, the founder of Indiana Moms, said she felt it was important to have a local rally “close to home.” She lives in Delaware County and has already had rallies in Indianapolis and Lafayette.
“It’s important for people to see the support for themselves,” she said as she passed around letters to sign — addressed to senators about gun control — to all of the women and men who walked up.
Patti Voyler, an Indiana Moms member who came up from Indianapolis, said she has been seeing supporters of all ages at the rallies. This one, she said, was no exception.
“There are teens to people in their twenties, people in their seventies,” she said. “Everyone is willing to stand up for what they believe.”
What she believes, what she tries to get across to anyone who will listen, is that “just because I carry a gun it doesn’t mean I’m not a normal person.”
Lisa Pierce, who made the trip from Carmel, owns Hide & Carry, which sells handbags with special compartments just for guns.
“Business is good,” she said as she handed out cards from one of her purses. “More women want to protect themselves.”
Melanie Shorter grew up shooting guns with her dad. “Women should be able to protect themselves,” she said. “I don’t want to see that taken away.”
Amy Slike, who came to the rally from Noblesville, said she started carrying a gun four years ago. “It’s just the way it is now,” she said when asked why she started. “It’s scarier now.”
Sara Houin, 23, was carrying a gun and her one-year-old niece, Kynli, who was wearing a onesie with the words “Future Gun Owner” on the back.
“It’s our right to carry and we need to protect that right for future generations,” she said, smiling at the little girl in her arms.
About 30 minutes into the rally, Porter took the microphone as those in the crowd held up signs and waved “Don’t Tread On Me” flags to reiterate that right.
“It’s a right worth fighting for,” Porter told the crowd. “Keep fighting the fight and tell all of your friends…try to talk some sense into them.”
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