UT: Group planning fake mass shooting could face trespassing charges

The University of Texas at Austin is fighting back an attempted fake mass shooting on campus— led by gun rights advocates— by warning organizers that such occurrence could lead to criminal trespassing charges.

Gun rights groups hoped to conduct a mock mass shooting demonstration on Saturday, Dec. 12 at the UT-Austin campus in an effort to protest gun-free zones. Since UT’s announcement of potential criminal charges, the group said it will hold the demonstration near the university instead.

The controversial campus carry bill has caused many Texas public colleges to protest weapons on campus. Many private universities that have the option to opt out have already done so. Meanwhile, public universities, such as UT-Austin, are continuing their fight to maintain their gun-free campus.

Gun rights advocates with Come and Take It Texas created the “Open Carry Walk and Crisis Performance” event in which group members will be “shot” by perpetrators armed with cardboard weapons, fake blood, and fake sounds of gun shots, according to the Austin American-Statesman.

The group also told the Statesman that other people will then play the role of rescuers, also armed with cardboard weapons. Gun rights advocates argue that allowing concealed weapon on college campuses promotes safety.

According to UT, the Board of Regents' rules prohibit outside groups from assembling on campus, and all groups—including the gun rights advocates—are turned away, the university said in a statement

“Many groups seek to use the university’s facilities each year and they are all treated equally and are turned away,” UT-Austin spokesperson J.B. Bird wrote. “For example, we have not allowed the Westboro Baptist Church to protest on campus and have not allowed labor groups to protest on campus.”

The Texas gun rights group has not released a statement on where they plan to hold the demonstration.