Months after Texas went to court to defend the state's concealed carry law, the state is back before judges this week to defend its campus carry law. The law allows those with concealed carry permits to carry firearms on public school campuses, with some restrictions. Last year, three UT-Austin professors sued to challenge the law as well as UT's campus carry policy. A district court judge dismissed the suit, but the plaintiffs appealed to the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which is now taking up oral arguments.
Gerald Treece, professor at South Texas College of Law-Houston, says both sides have some valid arguments. "The state has a right to enact legislation even without the Second Amendment...the Second Amendment just adds some credence to it," he tells KTRH. "But also, the universities are entrusted with the care and protection of their students, so it's an interesting balancing act."
Nevertheless, Treece believes the challengers are fighting an uphill battle. "On one side, you've got Texas and the attorney general and a state law in a state that is famous for gun rights," he says. "On the other side, the policy being advanced by the academics is one that I understand as well...I think it will be an interesting argument, but I just don't see the academic freedom argument defeating this legislation."
The bottom line, according to Treece, is that the burden of proof before the appeals court lies squarely with the plaintiffs. "The problem is the group that brought this suit has already lost, and the question now is, is there a basis to overturn it?"
There is no timetable for when the Fifth Circuit Court will issue a ruling on the case.