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UT Austin Professors’ Lawsuit Against Campus Carry Policy Dismissed

UT Austin’s campus carry policy has been in effect since Aug. 1, 2016.

A federal judge threw out a lawsuit filed by three professors from the University of Texas at Austin who argued the state’s concealed carry law would hinder free speech on campus.

District Judge Lee Yeakel cited insufficient evidence presented by the professors as the reasoning for dismissing the case on July 6.

Judge Yeakel had blocked a preliminary injunction sought by some of the university’s professors to delay the implementation of the concealed carry law last year.

Texas passed a law in May 2015 allowing people with concealed carry permits to bring guns onto public college campuses beginning on Aug. 1, 2016. After further clarification, it was determined that the law permits guns in dorms, classrooms and other campus buildings, although schools can establish limited “gun free zones.”

Campus Safety has detailed the complete list of policies the University of Texas System has implemented and the deliberation process that led to those policies.

In their lawsuit, professors Jennifer Lynn Glass, Lisa Moore and Mia Carter argued, among other things, the law violated their right to free speech because guns in their classrooms would make them hesitant to discuss controversial issues, reports the Texas Tribune.

But Judge Yeakel ruled the professors couldn’t present “concrete evidence to substantiate their fears.”

An attorney for the professors said Yeakel’s decision addressed only one of their many arguments and questioned the finality of the ruling.

“We had other claims in the lawsuit beyond [the First Amendment claim],” Attorney Renea Hicks said after Yeakel’s decision. “A Second Amendment claim, an equal protection claim. The order accompanying his dismissal doesn’t seem to address those issues. So there’s a bit of confusion on our part.”

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton called the ruling “the correct outcome.”

“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,” Paxton said.

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