A federal judge has rejected the attempt by three Texas professors to ban guns in their classrooms.
In a complaint filed last year, professors of liberal arts and gender studies offered an 18-page manifesto against the state’s new concealed-carry law, claiming they were being forced to allow guns in the classroom, that spirited classroom debate would be “chilled,” that crime would rise and professors would be intimidated against issuing bad grades. One professor feared her classroom discussions on “imperialism and power structures related to sexuality and gender” would be “jeopardized” by the new law.
The motion also offered a paradoxical argument that campus carry created a “disabling imbalance” of self-defense, because anyone wishing to cause them harm would be armed, while the plaintiffs’ definition of self-defense was to inhabit places they believe to be gun-free.
To date, no mass shootings have occurred on campuses that allow lawful carry.
“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.” — Texas Attorney General Ken PaxtonThe trio offered an ironic invocation of First, Second and Fourteenth amendments for protection against “overly-solicitous, dangerously-experimental gun policies of the Texas Legislature” and requested the judge block both the law’s 2016 implementation and any future attempts to reconcile state colleges with state law on campus carry.
Last week, District Judge Lee Yeake dismissed the motion, stating that there was no concrete evidence the professors had suffered or would suffer harm, and that courts cannot act on the fear of an injury.
The professors have 30 days to file an appeal with the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was named as the defendant and filed the motion to dismiss. In an online statement, Paxton praised the decision, stating, “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.”
“Adults who are licensed by the State to carry a handgun anywhere in Texas do not suddenly become a menace to society when they set foot on campus,” Paxton added. “The right to keep and bear arms is guaranteed for all Americans, including college students, and must be vigilantly protected and preserved.”
Research confirms that the vast majority of professors in academia have a liberal bias that predisposes them to oppose private gun ownership. It’s no surprise, then, that as campus carry states grow, professors turn to increasingly desperate means of resistance.
Earlier this year, graduate assistants in Texas began holding visiting hours at bars, hoping to strong-arm students into disarming if they sought help for their studies. At least one eatery revised its policy in response.
Resignations from Texas professors came early in protest of the campus carry law, including the University of Texas dean, who moved to Pennsylvania, which, for now, is less friendly to guns, and an economics professor who feared the law would permit a disgruntled student to bring a gun into the classroom. (The professor offered no explanation for how such disgruntled students had been previously deterred by no-gun signs.)
With or without the support of liberal academia, campus carry marches on.More recently, laws taking effect in Kansas have prompted public resignations in protest. Associate history professor Jacob Dorman’s open letter proclaimed his intention to relocate to a campus which (for now) bans guns—the same campus where rape victim Amanda Collins was denied the Right to Carry.
In one case, a Florida English instructor even ludicrously argued that campus carry was a vigilante fantasy, and part of a broader Republican plot to prevent education and dominate through violence.
With or without the support of liberal academia, campus carry marches on. More than 500 employees have registered to carry on Tennessee campuses since a new law went into effect last year. In March, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchison signed a law allowing campus carry in that state.
Nor is every academic voice opposed to campus carry. Professors at Liberty University, Georgia Southern University and the University of West Georgia have eloquently endorsed campus carry.
For academic professionals entrenched in their anti-gun beliefs, arguments against concealed carry only conceal a predisposed bias. Since the new laws only expand the rights of law-abiding citizens, and since college gun bans are enforced only by voluntary compliance, their objections fail the most basic of tests on rational discourse. Disarmed by the facts, it’s not surprising that they take their diploma and retreat.
A critical care nurse from Lexington, Ky., David Burnett is also the former president of Students for Concealed Carry and a repeat contributor to America’s 1st Freedom.