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SPANISH FORK — Gun owners in Utah have come together to plan the country's first Open Carry 5k race.
The idea behind the race is to promote responsible gun ownership, but the group is giving proceeds to local victims of gun violence. The race is split into two separate events: a half-mile armed carry race and a 3.1-mile race.
"(It's) an opportunity for people to come out and celebrate their Second Amendment rights by being part of the first open carry race," said Run4Guns cofounder Royal Bateman.
Though the group hasn't picked a specific charity to support, it plans to donate proceeds to victims and their families, specifically in Utah.
"Though gun owners are proud of their rights, (Run4Guns) wants to reach out and help, and there hasn't been an avenue for gun owners to reach out and help victims," Bateman said.
The event's website welcomes people to run with or without a firearm during the race. The group is taking precautions by stating an official race policy barring ammo if a gun's trigger isn't covered by a holster. Participants can bring any firearm they legally possess, including rifles and shotguns.
"We hope the safe display of gun ownership, and helping the people who have been hurt by guns, we can help repair the rift that has happened between people who are pro-gun and anti-gun," Bateman said.
While one of the driving forces behind the race is raising money for victims of gun violence, the group also hopes more people will exercise their Second Amendment to ultimately put more firearms in the hands of responsible gun people.
"I think a lot of the violent crimes would be reduced if the criminals were aware that there are people who are carrying and who are going to protect the sheep," said Bernell Taylor, a race participant.
The first Run4Guns event will take place at 475 S. Main Street in Spanish Fork on Sept. 21. For more information, visit run4guns.com.