Opinion

Gun-rights group organizes nation’s first ‘open carry’ run

A central Utah town is moving its legs for the right to bear arms.

Spanish Fork is hosting Run4Guns, a 5K race it says is the first open-carry race in the United States.

Proceeds from the event will go to victims of gun violence, but the race also aims to send a message about gun ownership.

joffingholster“One of the biggest misconceptions about gun violence is that we, as a society, can prevent it by limiting firearm ownership,” race co-director Macgregor Whiting told the local Standard-Examiner.

“Efforts to limit gun ownership have instead left law-abiding citizens complacently unaware and increasingly vulnerable.”

You don’t have to be armed to run, but you do have to be 18 or older to do it with a gun, in line with Utah’s open-carry laws. Runners 14 and older are allowed, but must be accompanied by an adult — armed or otherwise — during the race.

Runners in the Sept. 21 event will be asked to keep their weapons holstered or secured so that triggers can’t be pulled.

Sounds like harmless fun, but the usual critics are using the usual media outlets to criticize the event.

Gary Sackett with Gun Violence Prevention Center of Utah told the Associated Press the race is off course.

“Raising money for victims of violence of any kind is a worthy cause and should be supported,” Sackett told the AP. “As to the necessity or even the symbolism of strapping on your guns to do so, seems to us to be at best, sophomoric and juvenile.”

Organizers say it’s not “sophomoric,” it’s “symbolic” – and with an important goal.

“We believe that our efforts increase awareness of the ‘right to keep and bear arms’ and of the support for its protection,” Whiting told the Standard-Examiner.

“We hope that increasing numbers of citizens will exercise this right, putting firearms in the hands of responsible law abiding citizens.”

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