Pro-gun group Open Carry Texas is planning to openly carry guns at this year's South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas -- and their demonstration on gun rights will coincide with President Barack Obama's keynote address at the event on Friday.
Open Carry Texas has been bringing guns to the festival for the last two years, according to the Dallas Morning News. This year, members are planning to hold small info sessions during SXSW to "engage in conversation and education" about gun rights laws in the state and encourage young festivalgoers to "carry in lawful defense of themselves and others," according to a Facebook post Thursday.
The group says it's hoping Obama will take note of its actions and learn a thing or two about the benefits of open carry laws -- but emphasized that the president's appearance at the festival won't otherwise affect their plans. "We won't be deterred or barred from exercising our liberties," the post said.
According to the Facebook post:
"The fact that president Obama is going to be in Austin at the same time changes nothing. We won't be deterred or barred from exercising our liberties. In fact, if Obama sees us, we look forward to him approaching us, shaking our hands, and thanking us for exercising our rights in a safe and legal manner in the way he is tasked with supporting and defending. He could even benefit from reading our materials and we'll have extra copies of the constitution for him and his armed security since he seems to have misplaced (or shredded) his own."
Texans have been openly carrying guns at the festival since 2013, the group said. This year, people can carry holstered handguns to SXSW, since the state updated its open carry laws in January.
In a warning that seems designed to avert potential disaster, the group wrote: "We condemn in the strongest terms any language designed to suggest or threaten anyone with being shot. Guns are self defense tools and should only be used in those circumstances or for survival."
While politicians regularly make appearances at the festival, this will be the first time that a sitting president and first lady have participated, SXSW said.