Pro-gun activists help make the case against guns

Because they spoke out against gun culture, our activists have been subjected to a nonstop barrage of threats and sexist, racist, anti-semitic, Islamophobic, homophobic, transphobic comments. When rabid gun fanatics can’t win an argument, they resort to threats and publicly daydreaming and laughing about the rape and murder of their detractors. In a true demonstration of brains vs. brawn, they have claimed over and over that the only way they’ll be proven “right” is if we get hurt. They apparently can’t wait for it to happen, because today they used the likeness of our activists to play out these murder fantasies in a violent video, to try to scare us into silence. They’re spamming our walls with it, and offering their condolences for our “murdered” colleague.

They’re determined to put their violent machinations and embarrassingly backwards, fear mongering, victim blaming attitudes on public display in order to prove to us exactly why these people shouldn’t be making the rules for how universities are run. We don’t mind amplifying that message, and helping them with that goal. [CW: murder, robbery, blood, gun violence]. Remember, these people keep saying that we “deserve” this, just for speaking out against gun culture. If you don’t think gun culture has a chilling effect on free speech on campus, think again.

— Jessica Jin,  Cocks not Glocks

Mia Carter’s Interview with Diane Sun of the Daily Texan

Questions:

What is the role of student protest in affecting change in the present political climate?

In your eyes, what impact has the Cocks Not Glocks protest made on the future of campus carry?

Mia’s response:

The Students Against Concealed Carry, Cocks Not Glocks activists, and independent student-activists that have voiced their concerns about SB 11, academic freedom, and public safety have been absolutely invaluable allies to the University’s faculty and staff–a vast majority of the campus community that vehemently opposed the law due to the harm that it would wreak on an open, dynamic, rigorously analytical, and challenging educational environment. Today, one of the keynote speakers for my Department’s distinguished annual TILTS (Texas Institute for Literary and Textual Studies) conference rescinded her agreement to come to the University of Texas (see attachments below, which we have been given permission to share). Another speaker, Dr. Harry Edwards refused to appear at the LBJ School Conference named for him (“A Letter to the University of Texas About campus Concealed Carry“). Scholars are refusing to come to U.T. in solidarity to its scholarly  community.

The student-activists have helped to call the country’s and world’s attention to our plight here; they have called attention to the battle for commonsense gun control measures on college campuses and in the United States. The plaintiffs, students and I have done interviews with The New York Times, The Telegraph (UK), Swiss National Broadcasting, BBC Radio, NPR, The Nation, Rolling Stone, The Daily Show, Inside Higher Education, and The Chronicle of Higher Education, just to name a few. The Cocks Not Glocks pranksters are brilliant political activists in a great tradition of American and European theatrical, excessive, and absurdist protest (from Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal, to Dada and the Theatre of the Absurd, to the Yippies, Act-UP, the Guerilla Girls, WAC/The Women’s Action Coalition, the performance artist Dread Scott). Several of the Cocks Not Glocks students are Arts and Theatre majors; they are media savvy, too, and they have an idealistic vision of education and society that they are willing to fight for. Continue reading Mia Carter’s Interview with Diane Sun of the Daily Texan

Violent gun rights video should not stop fight for better laws

This opinion piece first appeared in the Austin American Statesman on Friday, Sept. 9, 2016

By Emily Keown – Special to the American-Statesman

My family hadn’t even finished breakfast last Thursday when my phone began buzzing.  A threatening video had popped online that name checked volunteers with the Texas chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America — of which I am a volunteer leader — and friends wanted to make sure I knew.

In the short film, an actress portraying a leader in the fight against guns on campus at UT-Austin is shot and killed by a burglar after she watches someone interviewing gun violence prevention advocates like myself. Then, after the actress is shot point blank, the camera pans to the wall behind her, where a Moms Demand Action sign is splattered with blood.

Since the video came out, I’ve considered my options. I’m a mom of two. And while I want to fight tooth and nail against the men who made this video to intimidate and scare gun violence prevention volunteers like me, I must put my kids’ safety first. It’s a careful balance. What I’ve realized, however, is that I can’t stay silent.

Groups like Open Carry Texas, and their ally, Come and Take It Texas, which claimed responsibility for making this video, represent the extreme fringe of this debate. And for too long, these radical activist groups have been the loudest voices at the statehouse in Austin, pushing through a dangerous agenda of guns everywhere at any time with no questions asked.
These groups have relatively few supporters, but their sway in the statehouse makes them a serious threat to the safety of everyday Texans, who overwhelmingly believe responsible gun ownership and common-sense public safety laws go hand in hand.

In recent years, many Texas legislators have been beholden not just to the gun lobby, but to extremists like these two groups who threaten anyone who speaks up for common sense gun safety laws. These groups target women with particularly violent venom.

Representatives from groups like Open Carry Texas and Come and Take It Texas have shown up at Moms Demand Action meetings armed with rifles. They’ve sent us videos of their supporters firing rounds into female mannequins. And now, extremists have taken the time to create a short film in which a Moms Demand Action supporter is shot and our logo is part of a bloody crime scene.

We cannot pretend that this is a matter of pro-gun versus anti-gun. For one thing, everyone in this conversation supports the Second Amendment. What’s more, one side of this debate issues thinly-veiled bloody threats while Moms Demand Action volunteers meet with lawmakers and host lemonade stands for gun sense. There is no equivalency in this debate.

The vast majority of gun owners support common-sense gun laws, and I suspect that most of them would be just as horrified as I am that the people who claim to be their voice in the statehouse are such a radical, threatening group.

I hope that any legislators who watch this video will consider the history of threats and violence against gun safety advocates in our state. I hope they ask themselves how they’d feel if it was their mother, wife, sister or daughter portrayed in this misogynistic and menacing film. And I hope they’ll disavow the reckless legislative agenda being pushed by Open Carry Texas and their allies — which is out of step with the vast majority of Texans.

Just two months ago in Dallas, we saw firsthand the effects of our lax gun laws in action. After five law enforcement officers were shot and killed, Dallas’ Police Chief acknowledged in interviews that our state’s open carry laws made law enforcement’s job more difficult in the minutes and hours following that terrifying shooting.

There’s no doubt that advocates of gun violence prevention will work closely with law enforcement when the Texas legislature begins its 2017 session. We have to be more persuasive than the extremists, who have already announced that they want to put guns in sensitive areas such as bars, as well as dismantle the handgun carry permitting system – meaning that a permit would no longer be required to carry a loaded handgun in public.

We must do everything in our power to stop these bills and make sure legislators know that groups like Open Carry Texas do not stand for all Texas gun owners. Responsible gun owners must make their voices heard. Parents must make our voices heard.

There is so much more we must do to make Texas safer for our kids. No longer can we let the scariest voices in Texas be the ones nestled closest to our lawmakers.

Keown is a volunteer leader with the Texas chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America — which is a part of Everytown for Gun Safety — and a mother of two.

Who would Jesus shoot?

Remarks by Steve Friesen at Gun-Free UT rally on  24 August 2016

We’ve heard about different aspects of the weaponized campus problem—public safety issues, political issues, insecure masculinity issues. But most discussions downplay—or ignore!—the religious aspects of this controversy.

The major players in favor of guns in classrooms are all outspoken white male conservative Christians—all men, all white, all Christian.

There’s Brian Birdwell, author of the law, state senator from Granbury, and lifelong white guy.  What does he say about gun rights? Birdwell says they are “Rights that are granted by God…”

Or Jonathan Stickland, state representative from Bedford. Stickland says, “The Second Amendment doesn’t come from a government institution, a bureaucracy or a politician. It comes from God almighty.”

Or state senator Charles Schwertner who says, “No one should be forced to surrender their God-given, constitutional right to self-defense just because they set foot on a college campus.”

The other prominent supporters of weaponized campuses are also outspoken Christians: Gov. and white guy Gregg Abbott; Lt. Gov., white guy, and former talk radio personality Dan Patrick; and Attn. Gen. Ken Paxton, also a white guy coinicidentally and currently facing multiple felony charges.

So here’s the problem.  These white guys are committed Christians, but their politics contradict what Jesus actually said.  Would a gun-loving Jesus say things like, “Love your enemies” and “Bless those that curse you” (Lk 6)? Of course not.  Would a good Texan Jesus forgive his executioners while he’s dying on the cross (Lk23:34)?  Of course not.

So how do we deal with this disconnect between our Christian politicians and the actual teachings of Jesus? The solution is simple. We just need to rewrite the Bible.  Jesus was wrong, but we can make him fit Texas politics.  We’ll rewrite the gospels.  Call it the “Revised Texas Version” of the Bible, what Jesus really meant to say.

For example,

  • In the old Bible, Jesus says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”  In the Revised Texas Version Jesus says: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for power, and never get their fill.”
  • In the old Bible, Jesus says: “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.”  In the Revised Texas Version: “Blessed are the merciless, who show no mercy.”
  • Old Bible: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”  Revised Texas Version: “Blessed are the purely heartless, for they will see NRA funding.”
  • Old Bible: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.”  Revised Texas Version: “Blessed are the Colt .45 Peacemakers, for they shall the weapon of God.”

But it’s not just these blessings that need adjustment.  What about the teaching from Jesus in the old Bible called the Golden Rule? “In everything, do unto others as you would have them do unto you; for this is the law and the prophets.” (Mt 7:12) In the Revised Texas Version the Golden Rule will be: “In everything, do to others before they do to you; for this is state law, and it profits the gun industry.”

Or what about this Jesus saying from the old Bible? “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,’ but I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also.” (Mt 5:38-39)  That can’t be the real Jesus.  He’s not conservative enough for Texas.  Here’s the Revised Texas Version, “And Jesus said, ‘An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, and a Glock G43 for your backpack.”

But revising the Bible won’t be enough.  We also need to change our worship services. So in closing, please bow your heads with me as I recite the Lord’s Prayer in the Revised Texas Version.

Our Father who art in heaven, hollow-point be thy bullets.
Thy kingdom come, with many guns on earth
That send bad guys to heaven.
Give us this day our daily threat,
And forgive us our trespasses, as we shoot those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from dildos.
For thine is the pistol, and the ammo, and the bloodshed forever.

Amen.

Syllabus and oral notification of Campus Carry policy

Banning guns from offices: 

Faculty and staff with single occupant offices, can ban concealed carry in their office, but only by oral notification. This can be done by an announcement on the first day of class. Some, at the suggestion of the University, will have students signs a statement indicating they have received this oral notification.

Acknowledgement of Oral Notice Prohibiting Concealed Handguns

From the Campus Carry FAQs for Faculty:

You may orally notify students in your class or learning environment in a variety of ways. For example, you can make an announcement on the first day of class. If any students are not present for that class, or if you have students who join the class later, you must provide the same notice to them.

Given the movement of students in and out of classes during the first few weeks, you may wish to have your students sign a statement that acknowledges that they have received oral notification of your desire to ban guns in your office.

Classrooms:

Continue reading Syllabus and oral notification of Campus Carry policy

Rally to Resist! Rally to Repeal!

Sun_Orange_Square_Better_GWednesday, August 24
12 PM – 1 PM
West Mall UT Austin
Austin, Texas 78712

It’s the law, but we don’t have to like it.  Let’s show that we’re not going away.  Wear Orange, Speak Out! Let’s Make it Clear: Loaded Guns on Campus is NOT NORMAL.

Speakers
Elliott Naishtat, State Representative
Kathie Tovo,  Austin City Councilmember
Gina Hinojosa, Democratic candidate for State Representative
Nicole Golden, Texas Chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America
Jessica Jin, UT graduate and founder of Cocks not Glocks
Ana Lopez, Plan II Honors Student, founder and Vice President of Students Against Campus Carry
Bryan Jones, Professor, Department of Government
Kailey Moore, UT Student
Rebecca Johnston, PhD Student in History
Jorge Canizares, Professor, Department of History
Steve Friesen, Professor, Department of Religious Studies
Susan Schorn,  Writing Coordinator in College of Undergraduate Studies
Lisa Moore, Professor, Department of English

MEDIA ADVISORY: UT-Austin professors fight SB-11 in federal court

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 2, 2016
Contact: media@gunfreeut.org
GunFree UT press advisory

UT-Austin professors fight SB-11 in federal court; Gun-Free UT to hold post-hearing press conference

AUSTIN, TX — A lawsuit filed by three University of Texas-Austin professors against Senate Bill 11, known as campus carry, will get its first day in court this week. A hearing on the preliminary injunction will take place at 2:00 pm on Thursday, August 4 at the Federal Courthouse, 501 W. 5th Street. Professors Jennifer Lynn Glass, Lisa Moore and Mia Carter are suing to block the implementation of campus carry on the UT-Austin campus before the first day of classes on August 24th.

Gun-Free UT, which supports the plaintiffs in their efforts to keep guns out of classrooms, will hold a press conference outside the courthouse immediately following the hearing. Among the topics we will address are:

  • The broad support for the goals of the lawsuit within UT and the community at large.
  • Negative effects of SB 11 on recruitment and retention of faculty, administrators and students,
  • The need for a major research effort to reduce gun violence and promote personal safety without continued proliferation of guns.
    including the failure to recruit a Nobel Laureate.

***

Gun-Free UT is a broad coalition of faculty, students, staff, parents and alumni opposed to allowing guns in campus buildings. Since its founding in August 2015, Gun-Free UT has become a statewide movement, garnering national and international attention. Thousands at UT campuses from El Paso to the Rio Grande Valley to Tyler have joined in the fight to keep concealed firearms out of dorms, classrooms and offices. 

For more information on Gun-FreeUT’s legal position, click here

Get armed…with reason, what you can do now

Concealed carry permits do not decrease crime: There is no statistically significant correlation between changes in concealed carry licensing and crime rates. Armed citizens rarely successfully defend themselves in mass shootings or during other crimes; instead, in a number of mass shooting events, an armed citizen nearly endangered other bystanders. (Phillips 2015, Journal of Criminology; everytown.org)

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among young people ages 15 to 24. But college student suicide rates have actually been lower than the general population since 1960 because firearms were effectively banned from campuses. (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention; Schwartz 2006, Journal of American College Health)

The majority of Texans are opposed to Campus Carry: 63% are opposed to allowing college students to carry concealed handguns onto college campuses. 72% are opposed to allowing college students to bring concealed handguns into the classroom. (March 2015 SurveyUSA News Poll)

The High Costs of Campus Carry: The UT System says it will pay more than $39 million to further train campus police, add personnel, build gun storage facilities, purchase equipment and signage, and update security systems. (Houston Chronicle, Feb 2015)

Guns have a chilling effect on the free speech and free discourse that are the core of UT’s mission. Students must feel comfortable asking questions and discussing complex, charged topics. Faculty and staff must be able to challenge students to engage with difficult subjects. Family members need to be confident that UT is protecting their loved ones. Guns in classrooms and offices erode the foundation of higher education.

We are already seeing the fallout from the impending implementation of SB11. The Dean of our nationally celebrated UT School of Architecture stepped down, as have several professors, all citing campus carry as a reason for their departure. Numerous top academic hires and outstanding graduate students have turned down offers from UT-Austin or withdrawn from consideration because of campus carry. More than a few out-of-state students are transferring, while greater numbers are choosing not to apply. Even in-state families are seeking other options.

Losing even one professor or student because of campus carry is one too many.

What you can do:

●  Join more than 1,700 faculty members and thousands of staff, students, parents and alumni who have signed petitions against guns on our campus at  gunfreeut.org
●  Add your name to our mailing list to receive updates at: tinyurl.com/gunfreeut-list
●  Tell us your story of how an experience you’ve had on campus could have turned dangerous or deadly if someone had had a gun at: tinyurl.com/gunfreeconcerns
●  Connect with us on Facebook (Gun-Free UT) and  Twitter (@gunfreeut)

Armed with Reason