Gun rights group planning 'mock mass shooting' at UT

In 2016, it will be 50 years since Charles Whitman shot and killed 16 people while perched at the top of the University of Texas tower. All these years later, mass shootings have unfortunately become a fairly common occurrence.

This weekend, in the name of gun rights, "Come and Take It Texas" is staging a mock mass shooting near UT.

"We're just going to represent the dangers of gun free zones.  Ninety-five percent of mass shootings here in America are in these gun-free zones.  They're target-rich environments that are really just killing zones for these criminals," said Murdoch Pizgatti, President and Founder of the group.

Pizgatti says they'll start out with an "open carry walk" down Guadalupe.  Then they'll put the real guns away and stage a theatrical performance that may involve over-sized cardboard guns, fake blood and gun shot sound effects.

"It's going to be a non-realistic over-dramatization of that, it's not a realistic style event.  So I can't see anyone being startled by what it's actually going to look like," he said.

UT says they don't allow any outside groups to use their property for protests or assembly.  Saying in part:

"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. We suggest that any outside organizations planning such events on campus relocate them to other space where they would be allowed."

Gun rights advocate and radio host Michael Cargill is livid about the mock shooting.  He's asked the group to reconsider.

"We know what's going to happen if there's a mass shooting.  I don't need a bunch of idiots to get together and tell me what a mass shooting's going to look like, we have criminals that show us that all the time," Cargill said.

Cargill says it's in poor taste and it hurts their chances of getting gun rights legislation passed.

"If you want to write a book on how to screw something up, then do something like this and execute it in a bad way and we all look like we're a bunch of crazies," he said.

"When we started our open carry walks 2 years ago, a lot of people didn't want us ruffling feathers.  But as it's proven, when we are now obtaining open was the right thing to do," Pizgatti said.

UT electrical engineering major Dewayne Perry calls the performance "silly" but he thinks Come and Take It should be able to do it on campus.

"I'm not sure if this will really actually accomplish anything more than just draw attention to it but I guess maybe it brings people to the discussion," he said.

As for what Come and Take It stands for, Perry does support concealed campus carry.

"I don't think it will cause problems to have guns on campus, I think it will be a good thing.  People should be able to exercise their rights," Perry said.

The group "Students for Concealed Carry" also denouncing this, saying the hardest thing about fighting for concealed carry on Texas college campuses is "undoing the damage done by the small subset of gun rights activists who believe that theatricality and intimidation are adequate stand-ins for rational discourse and fact-based arguments."

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