A long-running legal dispute regarding the State of Texas “Campus Carry” law was recently settled in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in favor of the State. The case was brought by three professors from the University of Texas at Austin who opposed the concealed carry on campus law based on their right to free speech. The Fifth Court of Appeals is known for its conservative rulings which has prompted the legal team for the professors to rule out an appeal to the same court.
The University of Texas at Austin reports the “campus carry” law was signed by Governor Greg Abbott in 2015 with many questions left unanswered by the law. Public institutions are allowed to introduce their own regulations regarding on-campus weapons, but cannot prohibit licensed concealed weapons within their grounds. The three professors argued they were concerned about the effects of concealed carry laws on-campus would include a level of fear damaging classroom debate and discussion. This First Amendment claims formed the basis of the claim from the academics but was rejected because of a lack of evidence concealed weapons permit holders would use them illegally in classroom environments.
According to The Tyler Morning Telegraph, the three academics also made arguments regarding the Second and Fourteenth Amendments which were rejected by the court leaving Professors Jennifer Lynn Glass, Lisa Moore, and Mia Carter unsure of their next steps in fighting the law. Despite the setback, the professors retain the backing of the American Association of University Professors who have stated the right to bear arms on-campus is a step towards limiting academic freedoms within higher learning institutions.
On the other side of the argument, the Texas Attorney General and supporters of concealed carry laws on-campus praised the court for its judgment in the case. Concealed carry has become a major talking point for academic institutions across the U.S. with private schools not subject to the rule introduced by Governor Abbott. Inside Higher Ed published an Email from Quinn Cox, Southwest Regional Director of the Students for Concealed Carry group stating his belief the court’s ruling was the correct decision. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was named as a defendant in the case and stated his continued support for the right to bear arms expanding to include public institutions of learning.