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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

UT Professors Lose Bid to Ban Concealed Carry in Their Classrooms

Posted By on Tue, Aug 23, 2016 at 9:16 AM

Three UT professors won't get to ban concealed carrying of handguns in their classrooms. - WIKI COMMONS
  • Wiki Commons
  • Three UT professors won't get to ban concealed carrying of handguns in their classrooms.
A federal judge denied a request from three University of Texas-Austin professors who wanted to ban the concealed carrying of handguns in their classes just one day before school starts.

U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel blocked a request for a preliminary injunction filed by professors Lisa Moore, Mia Carter and Jennifer Lynn Glass, ruling that their lawsuit would likely fail, the Texas Tribune reports. The lawsuit, however, will still work its way through Yeakel's court. The professors had argued that Texas' campus carry law infringes on their First Amendment right to academic freedom. Both Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and UT have asked Yeakel to toss the lawsuit.

Renea Hicks, who represents the professors, tells the Tribune the decision was disappointing. "We'll just have to pull together more facts for trial and hope things go smoothly on campus in the meantime," he said. "Sometimes, public policies are so terrible and extreme that it takes the law and courts a little while to catch up."

The professors argued that the presence of guns in their classroom could end up being a powder keg because of the controversial subject matter they teach. Glass covers fertility and reproduction, touching on topics like abortion and unwanted abortion. Moore teaches a class called "LGBT Literature and Culture" and claimed she's already been accused by a student of pushing the "homosexual agenda." Carter teachers about imperialism and power structures as they're related to sexuality and gender.

Paxton has called their fears ridiculous. "There is only one apparent basis for their fear: Plaintiffs think the adults in their class who have been licensed by the State to carry handguns state-wide are ticking time-bombs who are likely to commit acts of violence if they are allowed to carry a handgun in class where they are exposed to the Professors' ideas. That is ridiculous," Paxton wrote in his motion to dismiss. As for UT, the college argues that Moore, Glass and Carter simply don't have standing to bring a federal lawsuit because no federal law has been broken. Not only that, the professors just don't have enough evidence to prove the presence of concealed handguns would stifle free speech.

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