UT-Austin Professors Blocked from Preventing Guns on Campus

The professors had hoped to temporarily stop people from carrying concealed guns on campus.
Published: August 24, 2016

Professors at the University of Texas at Austin had their request to block a controversial campus carry law denied by a federal judge Aug. 22.

Three professors had hoped that a preliminary injunction would stop people from bringing guns on Texas campuses when classes start Aug. 24, but a judge rejected key elements of their argument. The professors’ lawsuit is still alive, reports dallasnews.com.

Texas passed a law in May 2015 allowing people with concealed carry permits to bring guns onto public college campuses. 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. 

The law went into effect Aug. 1, but with classes beginning this week the professors’ request took on a more urgent feel. UT President Gregory Fenves said in a statement after the ruling that he would continue to work with faculty members concerned about the new law.

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The professors are arguing in their lawsuit that guns on campus would threaten free speech, among other things. But U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel rejected that claim.

“[The professors’] First Amendment claim is and must be bottomed on their right to speak and teach freely,” Yeakel wrote in his decision. “Neither the campus carry law nor the campus carry policy forbids them from doing so.”

An attorney for the professors says her clients are disappointed and will “begin to pull together the evidence and facts for the trial and hope things go smoothly on campus in the meantime.”

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