A gun rights group in Texas is planning to do a fake mass shooting to promote open carry and guns on campus. You read that right, a fake mass shooting. Come and Take It Texas started getting press for the “Open Carry Walk and Crisis Performance” idea when they announced it this week. Here’s how the group described it to Austin American-Statesman.

“It’s a fake mass shooting, and we’ll use fake blood,” he said. He said gun noises will be blared from bullhorns. Other people will then play the role of rescuers, also armed with cardboard weapons…

Gun rights advocates have argued that allowing people to bring their concealed weapon into campus facilities could promote safety.

“Criminals that want to do evil things and commit murder go places where people are not going to be able to stop them,” Short said. “When seconds count, the cops are minutes away.”

The group was originally going to hold the event on University of Texas, but decided to move it off campus after UT officials threatened to charge them with criminal trespass. That’s going just a little too far because UT is a public university, which means Come and Take It Texas has every right to “perform” on campus, as long as it didn’t get into classrooms or dorms. It’s free speech, and two of the dumbest things on college campuses are “gun-free zones” and “free speech zones.”

The problem is this strategy is downright awful, and will do more to hurt than help the open carry and guns on campus cause. What’s even worse, C.A.T.I. seems to think this strategy is pretty brave.

There are a couple problems with this thinking. For one, weapons will be allowed on campuses next fall. The Texas Legislature passed a bill this year allowing people with Concealed Handgun Licenses to bring their guns to school. Here’s part of the Texas Department of Public Safety’s summary of the law (emphasis mine).

Authorizes an institution of higher education or private or independent institution of higher education in this state to establish rules, regulation, or other provisions concerning the storage of handguns in dormitories or other residential facilities that are owned or leased and operated by the institution and located on the campus of the institution.

Requires the president or other chief executive officer of an institution of higher education in this state to establish reasonable rules, regulations, or other provisions regarding the carrying of concealed handguns by license holders on the campus or on specific premises located on the campus.

So the question is where on campus are guns allowed. This is something public universities are debating as they try to come up with the rules. Gun Free UT pretty much wants guns banned from campus, but the only way that happens is if UT decides to go private (which can’t happen). What they’re forgetting is how much training CHL holders have to go through to get their licenses. It’s isn’t like Texas is just handing out CHL’s to everyone who sends a packet to DPS saying, “Hey y’all, I want to carry a gun.” There are also hours of training, plus a written and shooting test. So Gun Free UT is just wrong in their fears.

But the “strategy” C.A.T.I. is employing just falls right into the fears of the Gun Free UT people. Can you imagine what would happen if someone walked onto campus and saw this fake mass shooting going on? They’re liable to call the cops, waste resources, and possibly get someone hurt. People still remember the 1966 UT tower shooting, which is probably why Gun Free UT exists and why C.A.T.I. picked UT-Austin as the backdrop of their “event.”

People need to be smart in advocating freedom and liberty principles, and shoving it down someone’s throat isn’t going to work. Open Carry Texas actually learned this when Moms Demand Action decided to go after them for legally carrying rifles around a Target. They changed strategy to stop playing into the gun grabbers’ hands and the issue became less controversial. The same goes for the Huey P. Newton Gun Club in South Dallas. They did a completely legal march to promote open carry in the black community. Come and Take It Texas hasn’t learned this lesson yet. They’re convinced they can make things work by beating people over the head until they scream, “ENOUGH!” and let them get their way. But that doesn’t always happen. It’s like the pro-life groups who decide to put up pictures of dead fetuses on massive billboards. The goal is to make people recoil in horror at the pictures and get mad at abortion doctors. But the pictures are just as likely to get people furious at the fact a group decided to put the pictures on a billboard. It’s just not smart strategy and should be thrown into the rubbish pile with the “Capture an Illegal Immigrant Day” UT’s Young Conservatives of Texas thought of doing a couple years back. It’s great to get attention, but when the attention is all directed towards the group, and not the issue itself, it’s probably not worth it. It’s too bad C.A.T.I. hasn’t learned this lesson as they fight for rights which Texans and Americans have.