Why are gun rights activists staging a pseudo mass shooting?

Recent mass shooting events have bolstered both sides of the gun control debate. Gun rights activists in Texas say their demonstration will illustrate their point of view.

Jay Janner /Austin American-Statesman/AP
Matthew Short , public relations director with Come and Take It Texas and DontComply.com, shows the incomplete AR-15 lower receiver which was to be completed by the Ghost Cutter CNC machine, at left, by Defense Distributed at a rally to support HB195, the open carry bill, at the Capitol in Austin, Jan. 13. The gun-rights groups that planned to stage a mock shooting at the University of Texas are moving their event off-campus after getting a warning from the school. The groups Come and Take It Texas and Dontcomply.com announced plans for the Saturday, Dec. 12, event that would include cardboard guns and fake blood.

Two gun rights groups in Texas have planned a mock mass shooting event on Saturday in order to raise awareness about their view of the relationship between gun rights and mass shooting casualties. They believe that by increasing open carry rights, mass shootings can be reduced or even prevented.

Gun control advocates have been vocal about their desire to enact new restrictions on ownership of certain kinds of guns in the wake of two mass shootings in Colorado Springs, Colo., and San Bernardino, Calif., in less than a week. The groups hosting the mock shooting event say that it will demonstrate how the intervention of responsible gun owners can reduce the number of lives lost in a mass shooting scenario.

The two groups, Come and Take it Texas and Dontcomply.com, had originally planned to hold their event at the University of Texas but later moved the event off campus after meeting with university officials. A Facebook announcement of the decision said that UT “will be the backdrop to this event."

The university said in a statement that the Austin campus does not permit outside groups staging demonstrations, and that the groups could be arrested for trespassing.

"When outside individuals come on campus and violate our rules regarding use of our grounds and facilities, they are asked to leave. If they do not, it becomes a criminal trespass matter," university spokesman J.B. Bird told The Associated Press.

The planned demonstration, “Life And Liberty Event To End Gun Free Zones,” coincides with final exams, and several students wrote on the event’s Facebook page also requesting that the event be moved off-campus.

The organizing groups say that the purpose of the protest is to “stand up, take a walk, and put pressure on politicians to ban Gun Free Zones.” They believe that restrictions on carrying guns in public places contributes to mass shootings.

Current laws regarding carrying weapons on university campuses are already scheduled to change in Texas. This past June, Gov. Greg Abbott signed the so-called “campus carry” bill into law, which would allow license holders to carry concealed handguns on public university campuses in the state, beginning in August 2016.

Although the bill states that public universities would have some authority to regulate the carrying and storage of handguns, it has been met with considerable resistance by both students and faculty.

Several academic departments and schools on the Austin campus have banded together to form “Gun Free UT,” a university-wide movement hoping to ensure that the campus carry bill is repealed.

“[We are] opposed  to allowing guns in classrooms and faculty offices. The presence of guns, or even their potential presence, would create an atmosphere of fear and intimidation that would impede our ability to teach,” faculty members of the UT math department said in a recent statement.

This report contains material from The Associated Press.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.