A few gun rights groups plan on playing out their action-hero fantasies this weekend by conducting a mock mass shooting just off campus at the University of Texas at Austin, complete with fake blood, "gun noises" amplified by bullhorns, cardboard weapons, and regular-Joe "rescuers," the Austin American-Statesman first reported.
After announcing their plans to hold the playdate on the university campus, UT released a statement effectively threatening to press criminal charges against the organizers. "When outside individuals come on campus and violate our rules regarding use of our grounds and facilities, they are asked to leave," UT spokesman J.B. Bird said in the statement. "If they do not, it becomes a criminal trespass matter. We suggest that any outside organizations planning such events on campus relocate them to other space where they would be allowed."
Bird added that UT's campus is not "open to outside groups for assembly, speech, or other activities... only the university itself, faculty, staff and student groups may engage in such activities on campus." Organizers promptly announced they'd move the event near campus instead of on university grounds.
It totally makes sense that UT doesn't want a bunch of non-UT-affiliated gun-buffs pretending to kill each other on its campus, especially considering UT was the scene of one of the most infamous mass shootings in American history in 1966 when clock tower shooter Charles Whitman slaughtered 16 people. UT's administration had also previously expressed its opposition to the state's campus-carry law which will allow Concealed Handgun License holders to carry guns on college campuses starting August 2016.
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Matthew Short, a spokesman for the gun rights groups Come and Take It Texas and DontComply.com, told the Statesman that he didn't bother asking UT if he needed a permit for his theatrical display of faux violence.
“We want criminals to fear the public being armed,” Short told the Statesman. “An armed society is a polite society. We love freedom and we’re trying to make more freedom."
We're not really sure what that means, but OK man. Whatever floats your fake boat.