The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals hears oral arguments on Texas' campus carry gun law being challenged by three University of Texas-Austin professors who want the policy overturned.
A federal judge dismissed the suit last year, but the professors argue they should have the freedom to control their classroom, and campus carry denies that right.
“The policy forces professors to sit there and say any student that wants to can have a gun in my classroom and it can be loaded, and I can't know who they are and can't tell them don't do it,” attorney Renea Hicks told the three-judge panel.
The professors also believe having licensed handgun owners in the classroom infringes on free speech because students may be too intimidated to engage in some discussions.
“They aren't asking for government protection, they're asking for self-protection. They're saying we should have the option,” said Hicks. “It's the opposite of the government protecting them, it's the government not allowing them to protect themselves. They're professors and they're saying we want to exclude guns from our classroom.”
Jason LaFond argued on behalf of the Texas Solicitor General's Office, saying that the subjective fear of a student bringing a gun to the classroom doesn't give them standing to challenge the law.
“All they've alleged is lots of people have this fear, but lots of people fear flying. That doesn't mean that it's reasonable that any plane is going to crash,” said LaFond.
There was no indication when the appellate judges would rule.