Effective August 1, a new Texas law will allow people licensed to carry concealed handguns to wear those handguns on campus and inside classrooms. In the past, concealed handgun license holders were prohibited from wearing their guns in most areas of a university campus in the state of Texas.
Professors Jennifer Lynn Glass, Lisa Moore and Mia Carter are seeking an injunction that would prevent students from packing pistols in class, saying, among other things, that the law violates the 14th Amendment, which guarantees their right to equal protection under the law.
The suit was filed before a 25-year-old sniper, armed with an assault rifle, shot and killed five law enforcement officers and wounded seven others in Dallas, Texas.
The professors are represented by attorney Malcolm Greenstein, from the firm of Greenstein & Kolker of Austin, Texas.
“Dallas was such an evil act,” said Greenstein, speaking to LAS. “Someone was carrying an assault weapon and all armored up. Guns did awful things in Dallas, and we are trying to prevent more guns from being in the classroom.
“One of the professors said today that the whole thing is awful there, and there is no way we should have guns in the classrooms,” says Greenstein.
The professors have specific reasons for objecting to allowing concealed guns in classrooms. In the past, one experienced a volatile situation where a student became extremely upset in her classroom.
The two other professors teach classes where the discussion of controversial subject matter is part of the course outline. In one case, the class involves discussion regarding the issue of abortion and access to abortion. In the other case, topics discussed include lesbian and gay rights subject matter.
“When you are teaching controversial subjects, it really stifles open discussion if you think there are people who are armed in your classroom,” says Greenstein. “If you are sitting next to a co-student and happen to see a gun and you are taking a position different than his, it certainly may make you keep your mouth shut,” says Greenstein, speaking on behalf of his clients.
The case has attracted attention even before the Dallas shootings.
The Attorney General of the State of Texas, Ken Paxton, issued a press release calling the suit “baseless.” He said his office will “vigorously defend itself” against the suit. He called the suit “an insult to the millions of law-abiding gun owners in Texas and across this country.”
Although the deadly gun fire in the streets of Dallas may have aroused fresh opposition to the prevalence of guns and gun violence in the United States, attorney Greenstein doubts it will have any bearing on his clients’ pursuit of an injunction.
“I think the legal issues will be the same,” says Greenstein. “From an emotional point it may be important, but that is not how the judge in this lawsuit will rule on the case. We are seeking a temporary injunction and the judge will make a legal determination about whether the campus carry rule will be enjoined or stopped pending a trial.”
The next step in the case is the temporary injunction hearing, which will be likely sometime this fall.