Gun group plans 'open carry' meet-up at neighborhood family events

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Members of a group of Twin Cities-area gun owners are urging people to bring their weapons to a series of neighborhood summer family events in Minneapolis and St. Paul, the Star Tribune reports.

The group says it is not staging a protest or rally, and aims to openly demonstrate safe, responsible, law-abiding gun ownership. The group urges gun owners to lawfully carry the weapons at the events in the open. Here's the group's poster.

The group's Facebook posts say: "We're taking advantage of meeting up during this series of five "Open Streets" public events, but we're adding our own twist by encouraging "open carry" for pro-active, positive visibility of law abiding gun owners participating in normal social activity... Like normal people!"

The gun group's plans were not coordinated with city officials or organizers of the Open Streets gatherings, the Star Tribune reported.

“I’m shocked and saddened,” Nancy Homans, policy director for St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, told the newspaper. The gun group does not seem like a good fit for the Open Streets events, she said.

Open Streets was launched in Minneapolis in 2011 and there are now four of the events held in the city, expected to draw thousands. St. Paul will host its first one Sept. 15 on University Avenue.

The events are similar to block parties in which streets are blocked off to traffic for families to gather and socialize and for children to ride bikes and play. The focus of the event is healthy living and promoting active play for children. An organizer told the Star Tribune, "We don’t want sideshows. We want people to be out enjoying their neighbors and playing in the streets." But State Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, a former Douglas County sheriff, told the Star Tribune he hopes the two events can peacefully coexist.

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