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Texas judge rejects professors' lawsuit claiming campus carry is unconstitutional

A judge ruled against University of Texas professors who were suing to block the state's campus carry law. (Drew Anthony Smith/Getty Images)

A federal appeals court soundly rejected a lawsuit by three University of Texas professors, which claimed that the state law allowing concealed carry of firearms on campus is unconstitutional, according to The Dallas Morning News.

According to a three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, the professors' claims that the law infringed upon their First, Second and 14th Amendment rights was invalid.

"The lawsuit was filed because professors disagreed with the law, not because they had any legal substance to their claim," said Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. "The right to keep and bear arms is guaranteed for all Americans, including college students, and the 5th Circuit's decision prevents that right from being stripped away by three individuals who oppose the law enacted by the Legislature."

What was the basis of the lawsuit?

The lawsuit, filed by professors Mia Carter, Jennifer Glass, and Lisa Moore of the University of Texas at Austin, was two years ago.

Here's why they argued the law was unconstitutional:

  • First Amendment: If students could be carrying weapons in class without the knowledge of the professor or classmates, classroom discussions might be hindered as people may be scared to talk about divisive or inflammatory subjects.
  • Second Amendment: Under the law, firearm usage is not well-regulated, as stipulated in the Bill of Rights.
  • 14th Amendment: "...the university lacks a rational basis for determining where students can or cannot concealed-carry handguns on campus."

What the court said

The court rejected the First Amendment claim by saying the professor "cannot manufacture standing by self-censoring her speech based on what she alleges to be a reasonable probability that concealed-carry license holders will intimidate professors and students in the classroom."

As for the Second Amendment, while the court acknowledged an "admittedly fresh" take on the amendment that claims that people not carrying guns have the "right to the practice being well-regulated," it determined that to be an invalid interpretation.

The court also said the professors' complaints about the lack of "rational basis" governing where guns are allowed on campus were not specific or substantial enough.

The professors can either ask the full appeals court to hear the case, or they can push the issue to the U.S. Supreme Court. They have 90 days to decide on the Supreme Court option.

One last thing…
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