Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout./
A federal judge has denied three University of Texas at Austin professors’ initial attempt to keep guns out of their classrooms under the state’s campus carry law.
U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel ruled that the professors, who had sought a preliminary injunction to block implementation of the law, had failed to establish their likelihood for success. UT students resume classes on Wednesday, and the professors' case will continue to work its way through the court while the law remains in effect.
The professors, Jennifer Lynn Glass, Lisa Moore and Mia Carter, filed their lawsuit against the university and the attorney general’s office. In the suit, the professors said the possibility of guns on campus could stifle class discussion in their courses, which touch on emotional issues like gay rights and abortion. They argued that was a violation of students' First Amendment right to free speech.
Earlier this month, after the case had a preliminary hearing in federal court, lawyers for the state asked that the suit be thrown out. UT-Austin joined the state, suggesting that the "incidental impact" on free speech does not violate the First Amendment.
"Even if the ... policy had some incidental impact on Plaintiffs’ speech, that impact does not implicate any interest that the First Amendment protects," the university argued.
In an e-mail, Renea Hicks, the lawyer for the professors, said he was "disappointed" by the decision.
"We'll just have to pull together more facts for trial and hope things go smoothly on campus in the meantime," he said. "Sometimes, public policies are so terrible and extreme that it takes the law and courts a little while to catch up."
Disclosure: The University of Texas at Austin has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.
Read more about campus carry here:
- The new state law allowing guns inside college buildings went into effect Aug. 1. Here’s a rundown of what that means for people on campus.
- Here's where all of Texas' private universities stand on campus carry. Just one is allowing it.
- Aug. 1 was an important day on the University of Texas at Austin campus for two reasons: It was the first day people were allowed to carry guns into Texas university buildings, and it was the 50th anniversary of the UT Tower shooting.
- Denial of Professors' Request to Block Campus Gun Law (113.7 KB) DOWNLOAD