Austin federal court grants motions to dismiss University of Texas professors' complaint on carry law

By Zachary Lewis | Aug 1, 2017

AUSTIN – The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas at Austin granted motions to dismiss three University of Texas professors’ complaints against Attorney General Ken Paxton, the University of Texas and the Campus Carry Law on July 6.

The federal court granted the motions filed by Paxton and the university on July 6 after concluding the claims made by professors Jennifer Lynn Glass, Lisa Moore and Mia Carter against Senate Bill 11 were subjective and had no legal standing.

The bill, signed into law June 13, 2015, and enacted Aug. 4 2016, allows licensed holders, students or otherwise, to carry concealed handguns on college campus grounds. In accordance with the law, Gregory Fenves, president of the University of Texas, authorized a policy, titled the Campus Carry Policy, for proper gun storage and gun-exclusion zones on campus on Aug. 1.  

The professors expressed concern about the policy and the ability to bring firearms to their classrooms in general, stating they would have a “chilling effect” on free speech and argued discussions of conflicting ideas and opinions could be hampered by the fear of retaliation through gun violence. They filed claims on July 6, 2016, seeking an injunction against the law and university policy, stating Paxton and the university’s board members had violated their First Amendment rights.

However, the court determined in its written opinion that the professors’ concerns were based on the “subjective belief” of possible physical harm with no concrete evidence to substantiate their claims which was not adequate enough to overturn the current statute and university’s policy.

“The court’s ruling today is the correct outcome,” Paxton said in a press release. “The fact that a small group of professors dislike a law and speculate about a ‘chilling effect’ is hardly a valid basis to set the law aside.” 

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Texas Office of the Attorney General U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas Austin Division University of Texas at Austin

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