Some things you might be expecting from UT’s “Cocks Not Glocks” campus-carry protest are offensive images of lewd behavior with squealing students waving now-infamous dildos in raised fists. If that is the case, prepare to be pleasantly surprised by the students at the University of Texas at Austin.
At the base of the UT tower, around 400 people congregated, with several thousand wandering by throughout the afternoon. Students and educators from “Cocks Not Glocks” (CNG), Students Against Campus Carry, and Gun-Free UT were highly-organized and successfully maintained a clear message regarding the implementation of Senate Bill 11, which legalized campus-carry for adults in Texas.
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Pictured below is a large swath of participants taking in the words of District 9 Council Member Kathie Tovo as she discussed the implications of SB 11. Though a cheeky sign or two can still be seen in the crowd, those in attendance appeared more invested in the future of the bill than making a spectacle.
Even with the ubiquity of phallic content, from signs to chants to the 4,000 some-odd dildos handed out by the CNG organizers, all the hype was quickly absorbed by the larger group, and everyone focused on the message: No to campus-carry, and specifically no to Senate Bill 11.
Here is one CNG organizer speaking to students just before the last of the donated Smile Makers product was distributed.
CNG organizer Jessica Jin was in from San Francisco to speak at the event and could be seen wearing her protest materials loud and proud. Whether it was talking to news crews:
Or just taking a break to listen while other speakers addressed the crowded courtyard in the hot sun:
Few proponents of SB 11 were to be found, though it was rumored the Students for Concealed Carry group was holding a similar protest nearby. At no point did the CNG event devolve into violence or fighting, and we even witnessed one pro campus-carry student being interviewed by a news crew, seen below.
The audio isn’t great, but when this campus-carry supporter is asked how he feels about gun rights and LGBT rights, he replied: “When it comes to gun rights and gay marriage, I say, ‘Let them marry, let them carry.’ I stand up with my friends for gay rights.”
Over the course of the protest several speakers took to the stage, from educators to local politicians such as state representative candidate Gina Hinajosa. Each speaker touched on the very real outcomes of what the campus-carry law could bring.
Some speakers concentrated on the likelihood (or lack thereof) of SB 11 preventing a future mass-shooting, while others expressed their concern about academic freedom and open expression. One professor explained,
The possibility of a loaded, lethal weapon in the classroom…prevents open and robust classroom debate.
At one point the President of Students Against Campus Carry, Elyse Avina, took to the stage to reveal a chilling personal experience with gun violence in her own family which inspired her to begin the on-campus SACC group. Her testimony exposed a well-known fact about gun-violence: it disproportionately affects women.
It is precisely this oft-overlooked feminist perspective on gun-control that UT Senior Audra Webbe and UT grad David Bukstein, pictured below, would like to bring to light. Webbe and Bukstein are documentary filmmakers and have been chronicling the ongoing debate brought about by the passage of SB 11 and the momentum of the Cocks Not Glocks movement. Bukstein told Austin.com that their film “Take it and Come” concentrates on the “feminist perspective on gun-control from all sides of the aisle.”
Because the vote on SB 11 took place during Spring Break many students were unavailable to have an impact on legislation. Listening to the crowd, it was apparent that most protesters feel SB 11 does not represent them. After nearly every speech, the following chant could be heard, in one incarnation or another, but in one, resounding voice:
Just in case you DO still want to see some funny signs with various ‘cock’ and ‘glock’ puns, head over to the Cocks Not Glocks Instagram account to see what went down during Texas’ largest anti-gun rally in our state’s history.