Real Guns, Cardboard Guns in Texas Schools

Firearms groups plan "murder-in" as gun man hides at St. Ed's

St. Edward's University, Austin (Image courtesy of LoneStarMike via Wikipedia)

Update: The emergency shelter in place at St. Edward's University has ended, according to the university's Facebook page. "APD and UPD have searched campus thoroughly with K-9 unit. Campus has been deemed clear. APD has moved their search off campus," the update reads.

Earlier: With university administrators across Texas increasingly concerned about guns on campus, and the spectre of school shootings seems far too imminent, the debate hits a little closer to home today: St. Edward's University is currently on lockdown as police hunt for a suspected armed man on campus.

This casts an even worse shadow over the plan by gun activists to hold a fake mass shooting at the UT Austin campus this weekend.

According to the St. Ed's official Facebook page, the South Congress campus was placed on lockdown after a man with a stolen gun was seen on campus. The suspect is reported to be male, 5' 6", with head tattoos, wearing a black jacket, jean shorts, and tennis shoes. Austin PD and St. Ed's university police are responding.

The advice from St. Ed's administration is the standard one: shelter in place, lock all doors, call APD or UPD at 512-448-8444 in case of emergencies.

However, that's the antithesis of what pro-shooting groups would seemingly suggest. This morning, the Austin American-Statesman reported that two gun rights groups, Come and Take It Texas and, will conduct a fake mass shooting on the UT campus, using cardboard weapons and recorded gun noises.

The murder-in (the opposite of a die-in) is intended to protest discussions within the UT system and its individual campuses on how large to make their gun-free zones when campus carry legislation takes effect on Aug. 11, 2016. The concern of many, including former U.S. Admiral, now UT System Chancellor, Bill McRaven, Austin PD Chief Art Acevedo, and a large number of UT staff, is that more guns on campus will make their life more difficult, and not result in the vigilante justice that proponents of armed students and visitors espouse.

It's worth noting that, while all Texas universities will be subject to campus carry, not all universities are subject to the law. As a sop during legislative negotiations, private schools like St. Ed's were allowed to opt out. Public universities, like UT, are only allowed to define specific gun free zones. The expectation is that whatever restrictions they come up with will be challenged in court by groups that push the most extreme interpretations of the Second Amendment.

With St. Ed's students literally hiding from a suspect with a gun, the question is whether the groups will reschedule their controversial display, or be emboldened by today's events.

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