Professors Sue UT Over Campus Carry Law

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Three professors from the University of Texas at Austin filed a lawsuit against the school Wednesday, saying the state's new campus carry law is forcing the school to impose "over-solicitous, dangerously experimental gun policies" that violate the First and Second Amendments, according to this story from the Washington Post.

The story says professors Jennifer Lynn Glass, Lisa Moore, and Mia Carter are asking a federal judge to grant an injunction that would block the law, which allows those 21 and older with a concealed carry license to carry their firearms inside most public university buildings and classrooms, before it goes into effect on August 1.

The lawsuit argues that the presence of guns on campus could stifle class discussion, a violation of the First Amendment. The professors who brought the suit teach courses that touch controversial issues like gay rights and abortion, the story says.

“Compelling professors at a public university to allow, without any limitation or restriction, students to carry concealed guns in their classrooms chills their First Amendment rights to academic freedom,” the lawsuit says.

“The Second Amendment is not a one-way street,” the suit says. “It starts with the proposition that a ‘well-regulated militia,’ is necessary to the security of a free state. The Supreme Court has explained that ‘well-regulated’ means “imposition of proper discipline and training.’”

The complaint continues: “If the state is to force them to admit guns into their classrooms, then the officials responsible for the compulsory policy must establish that there is a substantial reason for the policy and that their regulation of the concealed carrying of handguns on college campuses is ‘well-regulated.’ Current facts indicate that they cannot do so.”

The story says the lawsuit will likely be unsuccessful, as numerous states across the country have passed similar laws, including about 100 college campuses, without being overturned by the courts. There also have been no reports of the crumbling of academics in those states.

"To put it in terms these professors should understand, the clinical trials are over, and campus carry has been shown to pose little risk to public safety," said Antonia Okafor, the southwest regional director for Students for Concealed Carry, who called the statement that the law is dangerously experimental, "on it's face, laughable" in the story.