Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Thursday called a lawsuit filed by three University of Texas at Austin professors hoping to block the state's new campus carry gun law "baseless" and said he plans to "vigorously defend it."
"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 said in a statement.
The three professors — Jennifer Lynn Glass, Lisa Moore and Mia Carter — filed the suit in federal court Wednesday, saying the campus carry law is forcing UT-Austin to impose "overly-solicitous, dangerously-experimental gun policies" that violate the First, Second and 14th Amendments. They are asking a judge to file an injunction that would block it before classes begin this fall. The law goes into effect Aug. 1.
The law was passed last year by the Texas Legislature. It allows people with concealed handgun licenses to carry their weapons into public university buildings unless the building has been specifically named a gun-free zone for safety reasons. Most classrooms aren't exempt from the law, meaning students may be able to carry handguns to class this fall.
The professors argue that the law could quash academic freedom and stifle open dialogue in class, especially when sensitive topics are being discussed.
But gun rights advocates have disagreed with that argument, saying concealed handgun license holders tend to be more law-abiding than the general public as a whole. Paxton, who is named in the lawsuit, echoed that sentiment Thursday.
"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," he said. "The right to keep and bear arms is guaranteed for all Americans, including college students, and must be vigilantly protected and preserved.”