On the heels of a California mass shooting that left 14 dead, gun rights groups in Texas said they will conduct a staged mass shooting at the University of Texas this weekend. The fake mass shooting, called the Open Carry Walk and Crisis Performance Event, will feature actors being shot by faux-attackers with cardboard weapons, reported the Austin American-Statesman Wednesday.
A spokesman for the guns rights groups Come and Take It Texas and DontComply.com detailed the plans for the staged event, scheduled for Saturday: “It’s a fake mass shooting, and we’ll use fake blood,” said Matthew Short to the Statesman. He further said that gun noises would be played over bullhorns and that some participants would play the role of first responders also armed with fake weapons.
The group reportedly did not seek a permit for the event from either the city or the University of Texas. “Criminals that want to do evil things and commit murder go places where people are not going to be able to stop them," Short said. “When seconds count, the cops are minutes away.”
— Austin Statesman (@statesman) December 9, 2015
The goals of Come and Take It Texas, as stated on its Facebook page, are: "1.) Educate Americans on their right to openly carry shotguns and rifles in a safe manner. 2) To condition Americans to feel safe around those of us that carry them. 3) Encourage our elected officials to pass less-restrictive open carry legislation." DontComply.com's tagline is "The frontline is everywhere."
The organizers weren't worried that the attack might seem in poor taste, coming so soon after the deadly attack in San Bernardino, in which husband-and-wife attackers opened fire on a holiday party at the state-run facility where the husband worked. “Not at all. People were able to murder people because no one was armed,” Short said, according to the Statesman.
The Facebook page for the event noted the mock shooting was in protest of gun-free zones. "In the wake of yet another gun-free zone shooting, [U.S. President Barack] Obama is using it to aggressively push his gun confiscation agenda," the page read. "Now is the time to stand up, take a walk, speak out against the lies and put an end to the gun-free killing zones."
In the aftermath of the San Bernardino shooting, gun ranges have seen an uptick in business and gun sales have gone up. A number of mass shootings have taken place on college campuses, most notably in 2015 a deadly attack at Umpqua Community College in Oregon that left 10 dead. A 2007 mass shooting on Virginia Tech's campus killed 32 people, the deadliest such attack in U.S. history.