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Court to Texas College Professors: Your Irrational Fear of Gun Owners Is Not Legally Addressable

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Court to Texas College Professors: Your Irrational Fear of Gun Owners Is Not Legally Addressable

Last Thursday, a federal judge in Austin, Texas, dismissed a lawsuit by several professors who sought to block the University of Texas from implementing a state law that provides for the lawful carrying of concealed handguns on campus. The case is Glass v. Paxton. 

In a filing with the court, one of the professors claimed that the presence of armed students in their classrooms would impede their “ability to create a daring, intellectually active, mutually supportive, and engaged community of thinkers.” The court, however, noted the plaintiffs did not specify what subject matter or point of view they expected to be suppressed. Instead, the judge wrote, they appeared to claim that they would censor their own opinions for fear that an armed student would harm someone. 

Yet the judge stated that the professors’ “subjective fear” that an unnamed, unknown student would be moved to future violence because of a differing opinion was based on “mere conjecture.” The judge accordingly ruled that the plaintiffs had not articulated enough of an injury for the court to have standing to hear the case.  Stripped of its legal jargon, Thursday’s ruling basically states that the professors’ own rank biases against law-abiding concealed carriers does not constitute a legally addressable injury.     

Because the judge ruled that the plaintiffs did not have standing, he did not opine on the substance of their novel First and Second Amendment claims. We had discussed the implausibility of those claims at length in a prior article on the case. It’s particularly notable that the learned professors hoped to convince the court that the Second Amendment itself REQUIRES the university to BAN law-abiding students from possessing firearms on campus. 

Stripped of its legal jargon, Thursday’s ruling basically states that the professors’ own rank biases against law-abiding concealed carriers does not constitute a legally addressable injury. The UT professors bootstrapped their claims essentially by insisting that their own irrational prejudice of lawful concealed carriers was so acute that it would cause the professors to avoid expressing opinions they themselves believed would be offensive. The court in this case wisely chose not to entertain or dignify this self-delusion.

This makes sense. Campus carry is hardly a new or isolated phenomenon, and there is no evidence (or intuitive force) to support the idea that differences of academic opinions will lead otherwise law-abiding carriers to suddenly become violent toward classmates or instructors. Indeed, as economist and former university instructor John Lott recently reiterated, concealed carry permit holders are among the most law-abiding of Americans. It’s ironic that a group of professors supposedly taking a stand for academic freedom did so with such a paucity of empirical or evidentiary support and on such highly emotional grounds. 

Unfortunately for the Constitution and for whatever legitimacy remains in higher education, Thursday’s ruling may not be the end of the case. The plaintiffs could still ask the judge to clarify or reconsider his decision or appeal it to a higher court. Considering their unique legal claims, we don’t expect the professors will be deterred from doing so by the sound legal reasoning of the judgement against them.

 

 

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Texas: Senate Passes HB 1927

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Texas: Senate Passes HB 1927

Early this evening, after more than 6 hours of debate and discussion on more than two dozen amendments, the Texas Senate passed House Bill 1927, constitutional carry legislation, on an 18-13 vote.

Louisiana: Constitutional Carry Bills Have Now Passed Both Legislative Chambers

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Louisiana: Constitutional Carry Bills Have Now Passed Both Legislative Chambers

Recently, the Louisiana House passed Constitutional Carry legislation, House Bill 596. 

Biden Goes All in On Calls for Extreme Gun Control

News  

Monday, May 3, 2021

Biden Goes All in On Calls for Extreme Gun Control

President Biden dropped any pretense at “moderation” in his first address to a joint session of Congress since assuming the presidency.

Leaked ATF Rule Would Upend Firearm Industry

News  

Monday, April 26, 2021

Leaked ATF Rule Would Upend Firearm Industry

On April 20th, The Reload, published what appears to be a leaked draft of an ATF proposed rule.

South Carolina AG Wilson Wins Against Columbia Gun Control

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

South Carolina AG Wilson Wins Against Columbia Gun Control

On May 4th, the South Carolina Court of Common Pleas ruled in favor of Attorney General Alan Wilson, agreeing that the City of Columbia’s anti-gun ordinances violate the state’s preemption law.

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

South Carolina: Constitutional Carry Amendment Fails

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

South Carolina: Constitutional Carry Amendment Fails

Today, the Senate debated adding a constitutional carry amendment to House Bill 3094, the open carry bill. Unfortunately, the amendment failed to be adopted. 

ATF Proposed Rule a Blatant Attack on American Gun Industry

News  

Saturday, May 8, 2021

ATF Proposed Rule a Blatant Attack on American Gun Industry

Two weeks ago we reported on a leaked document that appeared to be a new ATF proposed rule to amend several key definitions in federal firearm regulations

Vermont: Amendment Poses Legal Jeopardy for Citizens Engaged in Self-Defense

Friday, May 7, 2021

Vermont: Amendment Poses Legal Jeopardy for Citizens Engaged in Self-Defense

Legislation introduced this session to address policing took a turn for the worse recently.  It was amended in the Senate and now represents a striking blow to citizens’ right to self-defense. 

South Carolina: Senate Passes Open Carry With Free CWP Amendment

Friday, May 7, 2021

South Carolina: Senate Passes Open Carry With Free CWP Amendment

Yesterday, the Senate voted 28-16 to pass House Bill 3094, the open carry bill. Though the constitutional carry amendment failed, the Senate did manage to adopt an amendment to eliminate the fee for a Concealed Weapons Permit (CWP). ...

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NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.