AUSTIN, Texas -- Two gun rights groups planned to conduct a mock mass shooting this weekend at the University of Texas campus in an effort to end gun-free zones.
University officials warned "Come and Take It Texas" and "Don't Comply" that they have not been sanctioned for the event and that violators could face criminal trespassing charges.
The groups are not affiliated with the university, but Matthew Short, a spokesman for the gun rights groups, told the Austin-American Statesman the mock shooting would involve actors “shot” by perpetrators armed with cardboard weapons.
He also said they would use fake blood and gun noises would be blared from bullhorns while "rescuers" walked around also armed with cardboard weapons.
UT officials issued a statement on Tuesday after they became aware of the groups' plans to inact a mock shooting on campus, and said, in part, " Our Board of Regents' rules designate our campus as a space reserved for the business, research and educational purposes of UT Austin...The property or buildings owned or controlled by UT Austin are not, however, open to outside groups for assembly, speech, or other activities."
The two groups said they are talking to the university dean, but plan to move their event to a location off-campus.
They say they are protesting proposed gun-free zones on college campuses.
Students for Concealed Carry expressed their disapproval of the proposed mock mass shooting.
Antonia Okafor, Southwest regional director for Students for Concealed Carry, said in a statement, "I'm astounded that eighteen months after most of the state's open carry groups figured out that carrying rifles and shotguns into restaurants and grocery stores isn't a solid public-relations strategy, one such group apparently thinks that introducing openly carried long guns, fake blood, and the sound of gunshots into a university community that is highly uncertain about the new campus carry law and understandably concerned about recent high-profile mass shootings is a smart idea."
The Travis County Democratic Party also shared their disapproval of the gun rights groups' plans, calling them "offensive" and dangerous.
Vincent Harding, Chair of the TCDP, said, "I believe this mock mass shooting, which is planned in opposition to gun-free zones, is inappropriate and highly insensitive to the families and victims of past shootings. While I recognize the rights of special interest groups to represent their viewpoints, attention-seeking actions like this one do nothing but replace intelligent debate with an offensive spectacle."
Beginning next August, the new campus carry law will go into effect, which will allow those with concealed weapon permits to carry handguns into classrooms and dorms on public universities.
Those who oppose the law want UT to impose higher restrictions and create gun-free zones, igniting gun rights groups to speak out against any restrictions.