A group of students at George Mason University wants to increase the school's security - by bringing concealed handguns on to campus.
This January, Virginia's Supreme Court upheld a state adminstrative rule prohibiting concealed weapons from being brought into campus buildings and into school sports events. Gun rights advocates around the state have pushed for the rule's reversal.
From April 4 through April 8, students at Mason will join with a national gun rights group, Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, to protest firearm restrictions.
"The Empty Holster Protest is SCCC’s signature attention-getter. It’s a peaceful demonstration that involves students wearing empty holsters to class, distributing literature, and holding debates or speaking events," a message on the group's website says.
Carrying empty holsters will be a form of "silent protest," the group wrote in a press release.
The George Mason student group's position is that carrying a firearm will give them a chance to protect themselves in the case of a violent incident. Virginia is a notably gun-friendly state, allowing concealed guns to be carried into restaurants and in many public places. This year, Governor Bob McDonnell signed into law a regulation allowing guns to be carried out in the open into state parks.
Also this week, gun industry lobbyists are holding a "fly-in" into D.C., to press lawmakers on firearm-related legislation.
Last week, a mobile billboard proclaiming "Guns Save Lives" was patrolling District streets.