One of the things that leftists have spent years lobbying against is the idea of concealed carry. However, many leftists, especially those who work in academia, have been especially dead-set against the idea of concealed carry on college campuses, even for students who can carry a pistol off-campus without issue.
Most recently, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals shot down three professors’ attempt to stop students from being able to exercise their Second Amendment rights. The ruling by the court shot down the leftist appeal to prevent carry on the University of Texas’ campus. The liberal First, Second, and Fourteenth Amendment violation claims came to nothing, but many wonder if the professors will appeal the case to an en banc panel, or even the Supreme Court.
After the state of Texas passed legislation permitting concealed carry on campus, a number of leftist organizations and academics complained that this would turn the campus into the ‘wild west,’ a common assertion that has been for the most part, proven false.
In July 2016, three college professors who worked for the University of Texas college system sued Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and several UT officials, attempting to halt the implementation of concealed carry on campus.
In 2017, Judge Lee Yeakel, a federal judge appointed to the United States District Court by George W. Bush, dismissed the case, pointing out that none of the three claimants had suffered any harm, and thus they had no legal standing for their lawsuit.
The basis of their claim, and their appeal to the Fifth Circuit Court, was a ‘novel’ claim.
Essentially, they claimed that because students might be armed in their class, somehow their free speech was being ‘chilled’ by the concern that someone in their class could have a handgun.
The professors, none of whom have a background in law, also claimed that because the Second Amendment and its application in Texas and on school grounds was not “well-regulated,” it was somehow a violation of their Second Amendment rights to allow students to carry firearms. This argument drew much scorn.
Finally, the professors claimed that the concealed carry on campus policy was a violation of their rights under the Fourteenth Amendment, because the UT school system lacks a rational basis for deciding where to permit concealed carry.
The Fifth Circuit Court’s three-member panel rejected these claims, unanimously.
In their ruling, they pointed out that Dr. Glass’s fear of “religiously conservative students” as well as “openly libertarian students” does not amount to any sort of ‘chilling effect,’ as she is willingly self-censoring herself if her claim is correct. Thus, they rejected the First Amendment claim, upholding Judge Yeakel’s ruling.
To be specific, they pointed out that her ‘chilling effect’ claim contains at least two contingencies: the idea that she faces either harm from concealed handgun-carrying students, or disciplinary action from the UT system. Neither contingency is ‘certainly impending,’ yet again undermining her claim of her speech being chilled.
As to her Second Amendment claim, the court pointed out that, essentially, Glass claimed that the campus carry law, and UT policy, violated her rights because “firearm usage in her presence” is not ‘well-regulated.’ The court pointed out that her reading of the right to keep and bear arms is “admittedly fresh,” a polite way of saying it’s not recognized by law or precedent, and is completely undermined by the D.C. vs. Heller decision by the United States Supreme Court.
The final claim Glass made, her Fourteenth Amendment claim, basically said that she didn’t find it to be ‘rational’ that public universities, run by public money, could not ban concealed carry, but private universities could. In her amended complaint, which is what the Fifth Court was reading and ruling on, Professor Glass simply declared that concealed-carry zones were an “inexplicable hodge-podge.”
Yet again, they rejected her wild assertion, as it did not meet multiple evidentiary standards and failed to understand the basic difference between public and private organizations and their duties.
At this point, there are only two more places where this trio of teachers could appeal, and it doesn’t seem likely that they’ll meet any better result there.
They could appeal to an ‘en banc’ panel of the court, which would mean that all 26 members of the Fifth would hear the claims (or perhaps even 27, if President Donald Trump can appoint a judge and get him or her confirmed before the case reaches the court).
In this case, she still doesn’t seem likely to win, given that only eight of the 26 justices were nominated by democrats like Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, or Barack Obama, and those are the only people who would likely interpret the law with a leftist bent.
Their last chance would be the Supreme Court. However, SCOTUS is unlikely to take the case up due to the fact that most of the claims made by the professors don’t even meet the basic evidentiary requirements.
In other words, at least for now, concealed carry on public school campus is the law in Texas, and will remain.