The gun rights group DontComply.com, along with their open carry movement Come and Take It Texas, announced on Dec. 9 that they planned to perform a fake mass shooting on the campus of the University of Texas (UT) in Austin on the weekend of Dec. 12. However, they are now likely going to move it off-campus under the threat of arrest.
“It’s a fake mass shooting, and we’ll use fake blood,” Matthew Short, a spokesperson for the groups, told the Austin American-Statesman in the original announcement.
Short said that actors would play victims and rescuers, gun noises are going to be played through bullhorns and rescuers, and guns will be cardboard weapons.
“We want to bring light to the fact that people are dying because we outlaw guns,” Short told The Texas Tribune. “We are going to do it as a visual demonstration so that people can get an understanding of what might actually happen in this situation.”
A UT spokesman, however, said that the mock mass shooting would be considered criminal trespassing if the gun rights demonstrators do not leave. This is because the university does not allow outside groups to assemble on campus.
“It probably will change our plans as far as pushing us 20 feet from where we were going to be standing, but UT is still our backdrop," Short said in response to the university's statement. "We figured this might come up."
Short was asked by the Austin American-Statesman if it was in bad taste to perform this mock mass shooting so soon after the San Bernardino, California, shooting that took 14 innocent lives less than two weeks ago.
“Not at all," Short replied. "People were able to be murdered people because no one was armed.”
Short did not mention any concerns regarding the feelings of the San Bernardino victims' families, but said: “We want criminals to fear the public being armed. An armed society is a polite society.”
A study presented at the American Sociological Association's annual meeting in August found just the opposite.
University of Alabama Criminal Justice Professor Adam Lankford's study said that the U.S. was responsible for 31 percent of the world's mass shootings between 1966 and 2012 and had the most mass shooters at 90, RT.com reported. This is all despite having only 5 percent of the world's population.
In his study of 171 countries, Lankford used the FBI's definition of mass murder, which is when four or more people are killed.
“Until now, everyone was simply speculating about the relationship between firearms and public mass shootings," Lankford said in a statement, according to RT.com. "My study provides empirical evidence of a positive association between the two.”
“Given the fact that the United States has over 200 million more firearms in circulation than any other country, it’s not surprising that our public mass shooters would be more likely to arm themselves with multiple weapons than foreign offenders,” Lankford added.