Three University of Texas at Austin professors are suing to stop the implementation of the state’s new campus-carry law, and they’re deploying a novel legal argument: Letting students carry guns violates the professors’ Second Amendment rights.
Jennifer Lynn Glass, Mia Carter, and Lisa Moore want an injunction placed on Texas’s new concealed carry law, which is scheduled to take effect Aug. 1. The law applies to all public college campuses, and requires them to allow anybody with a concealed carry license to bring their gun to class, dining halls, and other public areas. The law has provoked tremendous opposition from university faculty, who argue that allowing guns on campus is inappropriate or will imperil their safety. (RELATED: Texas Professor Quits Rather Than Tolerate Armed Students)
With protests having failed to stop the law’s implementation, the three professors filed a lawsuit Wednesday.
Interestingly, the lawsuit argues that, by having armed students placed among them, the professors are having their Second Amendment rights violated.
“The Second Amendment is not a one-way street,” the suite says. “It starts with the proposition that a ‘well-regulated militia,’ (emphasis added), is necessary to the security of a free state. The Supreme Court has explained that ‘well-regulated’ means ‘imposition of proper discipline and training.'”
“Plaintiffs have a constitutional right to protection under the ‘well-regulated’ component of the Second Amendment,” it 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 professors also argue their First Amendment rights are being suppressed by the concealed carry law. All three say they teach classes addressing hot-button issues like abortion and “power structures related to sexuality and gender.” With guns allowed in class, they say there will be a chilling effect on speech, because professors will have to fear that students may snap and begin gunning down those who disagree with them on a topic.
“Robust academic debate in the classroom inevitably will be dampened to some degree by the fear that it could expose other students or themselves to gun violence by the professor’s awareness that one or more students has one or more handguns hidden but at the ready if the gun owner is moved to anger and impulsive action,” the suit says.
The lawsuit faces long odds of success in the courts. Several states already allow concealed carry on campus, and none of those laws have ever been found unconstitutional.
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