Three-Judge Panel of the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Upholds Texas College Campus Concealed Carry Law

On Thursday, August 16, 2018, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed a Texas District Court’s dismissal of a lawsuit brought by three University of Texas at Austin professors. Professors Jennifer Lynn Glass, Lisa Moore, and Mia Carter challenged a Texas law permitting the concealed carry of handguns on the University of Texas campus, along with a University of Texas policy forbidding professors from banning concealed weapons in classrooms.

The three-judge panel held that the professors lacked standing to bring a First Amendment claim since they did not sufficiently show how the law might harm them. The panel also rejected the claim of “standing based on [the professors’] self-imposed censoring of classroom discussion caused by [the professors’] fear of the possibility of illegal activity by persons not joined in this lawsuit.”

The panel further rejected the argument that the campus concealed carry law and University of Texas policy violated the Second Amendment. Finally, the panel rejected the claim that the law and policy violated the professors’ rights to equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment, holding that the professors failed to address Texas’s arguments regarding rational basis.

The Texas campus concealed carry law passed in 2015 and became effective at four-year schools in 2016.

Additional Reading

Federal appeals court upholds Texas campus carry law, The Texas Tribune (August 16, 2018; Updated August 17, 2018)

Glass v. Paxton, No. 17-50641 (5th Cir. 2018)