A group of gun rights advocates, apparently concerned that the rhetoric around guns isn't heated enough, are planning to stage a mock mass shooting this weekend at the University of Texas. Complete with cardboard weapons, fake blood, and the sounds of gun shots blasted through a bullhorn, the Open Carry Walk and Crisis Performance Event will, its organizers believe,help illustrate that allowing people to carry concealed guns makes them safer.
"Criminals that want to do evil things and commit murder go places where people are not going to be able to stop them. When seconds count, the cops are minutes away," Matthew Short, a spokesman for the aggressively named Come and Take It Texas and DontComply.com, told theAustin-American Statesman, which first reported the group's plans Wednesday.
The stunt, which comes in the wake of several high-profile mass shootings, is centered around Texas' new campus carry law, which goes into effect in August. The measure will allow gun owners with a permit for concealed carry to be armed most everywhere on the state's college campuses, including dorms, classrooms, and public university buildings. But it also lets individual universities to make their own campus-specific rules based on "specific safety considerations and the uniqueness of the campus environment," opening the door for schools to create "gun-free zones." Now the idea of these gun-free zones has Short and others literally up in arms.
The activists behind the fake mass shooting reportedly aren't seeking permission from UT for their event, but the university told the Statesman that if they go through with the plan, the administration will consider it trespassing.
"The property or buildings owned or controlled by UT Austin are not… open to outside groups for assembly, speech, or other activities, including theatrical performances," a UT spokesman told the paper. "Only the university itself, faculty, staff and student groups may engage in such activities on campus."
VICE reached out to DontComply.com to see if the school's response might change the group's plans, and was told by co-founder Murdoch Pizgatti that the group's vice president would meet with UT's dean on Thursday. "If they don't allow it, we will be holding the event on university-adjacent land with UT as the backdrop," he added.
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