A mock mass shooting planned for the University of Texas campus this weekend has been moved to a nearby street after university officials balked at the demonstration and said they would consider it criminal trespassing.
The Open Carry Walk and Crisis Performance Event was scheduled for gun rights groups Come and Take It Texas and DontComply.com to protest gun-free zones, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
Organizers said they plan to stage a mock mass shooting, complete with fake blood and cardboard weapons.
Allowing them and others to bring concealed weapon onto campus would promote safety, the gun-rights advocates argued.
"Criminals that want to do evil things and commit murder go places where people are not going to be able to stop them," Matthew Short, a spokesman for the groups, told the newspaper. “When seconds count, the cops are minutes away.”
The university issued a statement Wednesday
saying that, while the university is open to the exchange of diverse viewpoints, those viewpoints can be engaged in on campus by students, faculty, and staff, and not outside groups.
"This applies equally to an outside protest group, an outside theater troupe, or any outside group wishing to use the facilities or grounds of the university," the university said. "Many groups seek to use the university's facilities each year and they are all treated equally and are turned away."
"For example, we have not allowed the Westboro Baptist Church to protest on campus and have not allowed labor groups to protest on campus. We have told outside sporting groups that they may not use our sporting facilities," the statement continued.
After the statement, Come and Take It Texas and DontComply.com announced that the planned demonstration would be moved to Guadalupe Street, which is adjacent to the University of Texas campus, according to the American-Statesman.
"We will move forward with the event on the adjacent public land using UT as the backdrop," Murdoch Pizgatti, a founder of the gun rights groups Come and Take It Texas and DontComply.com, said to the newspaper.
On Tuesday, university faculty members held a rally on campus to protest State Senate Bill 11, which would allow people with a concealed handgun license to carry weapons into buildings on campus, KVUE-TV reported.
The television station said that some 1,000 educators at the university have signed a petition in opposition to the law.
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