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Forum News Service, Published July 26 2013

Blog posts prompt cancellation of event

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – The pastor of a Mitchell church has canceled an event she planned in response to a gun rights demonstration set for today in Sioux Falls.

At 5:30 p.m., members of South Dakota Open Carry – a group that supports the right to carry firearms openly in public – plan to carry guns during an organized walk on South Minnesota Avenue.

On Thursday, the Rev. Kristi McLaughlin, a Sioux Falls resident and pastor at Anew United Church of Christ in Mitchell, began organizing an alternative demonstration. But on Friday, McLaughlin said she canceled her event after reading several posts on blogs.

“It is not worth someone getting hurt,” she said in an email Friday.

Though she canceled her demonstration, McLaughlin still says she did not envision it becoming an anti-gun rally.

“My initial intention was to simply ask questions,” she said. “It was not to threaten Second Amendments rights.”

In South Dakota, any resident who legally buys a firearm is allowed to carry it almost anywhere as long as it isn’t concealed. A permit is required to carry a concealed weapon.

“My hope was to question the need for guns in our daily lives,” McLaughlin said. “However, there have been some pretty harsh words spoken against it.”