Judge Tosses Campus Carry Suit Brought by UT Professors

Judge Tosses Campus Carry Suit Brought by UT Professors
Robert Nelson via Flickr creative commons

A federal judge in Austin on Monday threw out a lawsuit brought by University of Texas professors that sought to prevent the state's campus carry law from taking effect.

Judge Lee Yeakel ruled that the campus carry statute, which permitted licensed gun owners to bring their weapons on college campuses starting August 1, does not violate the free speech rights of faculty, nor their academic freedom, nor their right of equal protection under the law.

"It appears to the court that neither the Texas Legislature nor the Board of Regents has overstepped its legitimate power to determine where a licensed individual may carry a concealed handgun an in academic setting," Yeakel wrote in his decision.

The faculty — Jennifer Lynn Glass, Lisa Moore and Mia Carter — challenged the law in a July court filing. They argued faculty members should have the right to regulate who carries a gun in their classrooms, and that the mere presence of guns discourages professors to lead debates on controversial subjects. Attorney General Ken Paxton fired back two weeks later, when his office called the suit "frivolous."

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Though Yeakel conceded guns in lecture halls could dissuade professors from discussing sensitive topics, 
 he sided with Paxton. Texas, the judge wrote in his 11-page ruling, has a logical interest in allowing citizens to defend themselves by carrying guns on college campuses.

Yeakel ruled only on the professors' request for an injunction against the law, thus leaving the door open to future challenges to the statute.

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