The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, August 06, 2019 1:00 am

GOP headquarters site of gun control protests

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

Demonstrators stood outside the Allen County Republican Party headquarters Monday evening holding signs with messages such as “Enough is Enough,” “#MeNext?” and “Protect People Not Guns.”

The effort was in response to the weekend mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton that collectively killed more than 30 people and injured dozens more, according to the totals as of Monday evening.

It wasn't coincidence that participants gathered at Main and Harrison streets near GOP headquarters.

“We don't want to make it political, but it is. We don't want to make it partisan, but it is,” said Kat Hickey of Fort Wayne.

Republican lawmakers are failing to take action to address the problem, Hickey and fellow demonstrator Marty Lemert said.

Lemert – who held a sign reading, “Guns Over People” – said it took seconds for the shooter in Dayton to kill nine people.

“No one should have that kind of firepower,” she said.

Reached by phone Monday night, Allen County Republican Chairman Steve Shine said people are welcome to protest in front of GOP headquarters.

“It's horrible. It is gut-wrenching, and people need to be able to vent and show their disgust at the situation,” Shine said.

“If their efforts in protesting in front of Republican headquarters leads to a positive result to stop this senseless violence,” he said, “then I applaud them for doing it.”

Demonstrators plan to return to the site from 5:30 to 7 p.m. daily through Friday in hopes of building momentum, Hickey said. Organizers plan to assess their next steps over the weekend, she added.

She hopes the effort grows.

“So far, it already has,” Hickey said, noting it had grown from Sunday night.

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