Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has prevailed in another case involving the rights of Texans today. The United States District Court for the Western District of Texas issued an Order denying a request by three University of Texas professors to block enforcement of Texas’ new campus carry law.
The Court found that the plaintiff professors were unlikely to prevail in their lawsuit; therefore, they did not meet the legal standard for being entitled to a preliminary injunction against enforcement of the campus carry law.
On August 2, 2016, Breitbart Texas reported that three University of Texas professors filed a request for a temporary injunction in federal court to block Texas’ new campus carry law. They filed the legal action the same day that the law took effect. As reported by Breitbart Texas, Texas’ campus carry law went into effect on August 1. Pro-gun advocates worked throughout the 84th Texas Legislative Session to pass campus and open carry bills.
The AG filed a brief opposing judicial action that would enjoin enforcement of any statute or policy that allows LTC (licensed to carry) holders to conceal carry in classrooms where the plaintiff professors are teaching.
In a 26-page brief filed opposing the request for a preliminary injunction, the AG argued that the professors failed to satisfy any of the legal requirements for a preliminary injunction. In particular, that the professors were not likely to succeed on the merits of their claims, and there is no substantial threat that they will suffer irreparable harm if the injunction does not issue, the balance of harms favors the Defendants, and the public interest supports denying the legal action that the plaintiff professors seek.
The AG argued that in particular, the likelihood that the professors will prevail on the legal merits in their lawsuit is “particularly stark.” The professors urged that “(1) allowing licensed adults to conceal carry in classrooms violates Plaintiffs’ First Amendment right to academic freedom; and (2) Plaintiffs’ Fourteenth Amendment right to equal protection is violated because there is no rational basis to treat public universities differently from private universities or to allow handguns in classrooms while prohibiting them from other areas of campus.”
The brief fighting the application of Texas’ new campus carry law filed by the State of Texas argued that neither claim “is likely to succeed.” In support of that assertion, the State argued that the First Amendment claim fails for the following reasons: “(1) they have no individual constitutional right to academic freedom; (2) their alleged violation of their right to academic freedom is not fairly traceable to state action; (3) the alleged state action is indirect and content-neutral; (4) there is no objectively reasonable effect on Plaintiffs’ academic freedom by allowing licensed adults to conceal carry handguns in a classroom; (5) any alleged effect on their right to academic freedom is justified by an important government interest.”
The State argued that the professors’ Equal Protection claim is also unlikely to prevail in court because “it is eminently rational for the State to treat public and private institutions differently (as the State does in countless other areas of the law) and to allow handguns in certain areas of a college campus while prohibiting them in others (because doing so still achieves the goal of generally permitting conceal carry on campuses).”
In a statement obtained by Breitbart Texas after the Court’s ruling, Attorney General Paxton said, “I am pleased, but not surprised, that the Court denied the request to block Texas’ campus carry law. There is simply no legal justification to deny licensed, law-abiding citizens on campus the same measure of personal protection they are entitled to elsewhere in Texas. The right to keep and bear arms is guaranteed for all Americans, including college students, and I will always stand ready to protect that right.”
C.J. Grisham, founder and president of Open Carry Texas told Breitbart Texas, “The legislature has spoken and the courts have now affirmed that our right to self defense does not end at the classroom threshold. Their ignorant, last ditch effort to undermine freedom and liberty has failed and it’s time for these whiny liberal professors to do the job Texans are paying them to do, which doesn’t include attempts to undermine their rights.”
“Today a judge has thrown the garbage out by dismissing this ridiculous suit,” Texas Carry founder, Terry Holcomb, Sr. said. “Today a judge has thrown the garbage out by dismissing this ridiculous suit. As we knew, law abiding Texans no longer have to check their rights at the door at public universities. Time and time again we show that the Bloomberg cult is irrelevant in Texas.”
This article has been updated to include additional statements.