A multi-denominational group of Boulder-area clergy members is organizing a "silent prayer witness" Saturday in opposition to a simultaneous gun magazine giveaway.
Longmont resident and Marine Corps veteran Savant Suykerbuyk has organized what he calls "Operation Mountain Standard," a fundraising event designed to collect donations to Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, a Colorado gun lobby. In return, donors will receive large-capacity gun magazines designed to carry more than 15 rounds of ammunition.
The goal of the pro-gun event -- at 9 a.m. Saturday outside Boulder Gunsport, 1707 14th St. -- is to flood the state with as many large-capacity magazines as possible before a potential ban can be signed into law.
The group of clergy members said in a letter to the Camera that it feels the Operation Mountain Standard event is a "perversion of Second Amendment rights and a great threat to the safety of our citizens."
The 24 faith leaders who signed the letter -- members of Together Colorado -- are asking people who feel the same to join in prayer at a gathering also scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Saturday. The prayer gathering will take place just down the block from Boulder Gunsport, at the southwest corner of 14th Street and Canyon Boulevard.
"It's not really meant to be a protest. It's just a gathering of clergy and others that are concerned with encouraging a safer, more peaceful community, a less violent community," said the Rev. Ted Howard, of St. John's Episcopal Church. "We're concerned that what is being done with Operation Mountain Standard is moving in the wrong direction."
The Rev. Sheila Dierks, of Longmont's Light of Christ Ecumenical Catholic Community, referred to the event as a "silent prayer witness."
"We're not in favor of repealing the Second Amendment or anything like that," Dierks said. "What we are concerned about is the amount of gun violence in our community. We are concerned about magazines with large numbers of bullets."
She said the point of Saturday's gathering is to serve as a reminder that there are those who feel guns are not a solution to problems.
"I think what we're trying to figure out is how to encourage peace in our community and peace in the world," she said. "There is no animosity toward any individual, but I think most of us are afraid of guns."
Suykerbuyk said the feedback he has received about Operation Mountain Standard has been overwhelmingly positive -- more then 700 people had "liked" the event on Facebook by Tuesday -- and that, thanks to donations from across the country, he and fellow volunteers have collected between 50 and 75 magazines to distribute so far.
He said he fully supports people's rights to gather publicly in opposition to his event.
"I'd have to say I absolutely disagree with them, but they have the same rights that I do to protest," Suykerbuyk said.
The bill limiting the capacity of gun magazines to 15 rounds passed in the state Senate by one vote Monday but must go back to the State House for another vote because it was amended.
Contact Camera Staff Writer Joe Rubino at 303-473-1328 or email@example.com.
If you go
What: "Operation Mountain Standard" magazine giveaway; or concurrent prayer gathering
When: 9 a.m. Saturday
Where: Boulder Gunsport, 1707 14th St., Boulder
For more info: coloradomagazines.com ___