Three professors at the University of Texas at Austin have sued the school and the state to prevent concealed guns from being allowed in campus classrooms.
The Texas Tribune reports that the federal lawsuit contends that the state's new campus carry law is forcing the university to impose "overly solicitous, dangerously experimental gun policies" that violate the constitution.
The professors — Jennifer Lynn Glass, Lisa Moore and Mia Carter — are seeking an injunction that would prevent the law from taking effect before the first day of class on Aug. 24.
The professors say in the lawsuit that they teach courses that involve emotional issues such as gay rights and abortion. The possibility of guns on campus could stifle class discussion, which is a violation of the First Amendment, the suit says.
"Compelling professors at a public university to allow, without any limitation or restriction, students to carry concealed guns in their classrooms chills their First Amendment rights to academic freedom," the lawsuit says.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton asserted in a statement that the lawsuit was baseless.
“This lawsuit is not only baseless, it is an insult to the millions of law abiding gun owners in Texas and across this country," Paxton says. "The Texas Legislature passed a constitutionally sound law, and I will vigorously defend it. 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. The right to keep and bear arms is guaranteed for all Americans, including college students, and must be vigilantly protected and preserved.”
Texas lawmakers approved a campus carry law last year, and it becomes law on Aug. 1. It requires public universities to allow people with concealed handgun license to carry their weapons inside most buildings and classrooms, though some limited restrictions apply.