Appeals court hears challenge to Texas campus carry law - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Appeals court hears challenge to Texas campus carry law

(Ralph Barrera/Austin American-Statesman via AP, File). FILE - In this Oct. 1, 2015, file photo, protesters gather on the West Mall of the University of Texas campus, in Austin, to oppose a new state law that expands the rights of concealed handgun lic... (Ralph Barrera/Austin American-Statesman via AP, File). FILE - In this Oct. 1, 2015, file photo, protesters gather on the West Mall of the University of Texas campus, in Austin, to oppose a new state law that expands the rights of concealed handgun lic...

By KEVIN McGILL
Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Attorneys for three University of Texas professors asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to revive their challenge of a law allowing people with concealed-handgun licenses to carry weapons on public university campuses.

Two of the professors, Lisa Moore and Mia Carter, were on the front row as a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans heard the arguments.

Last year, a federal judge in Texas dismissed the suit. U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel said Moore, Carter and Jennifer Glass offered "no concrete evidence" to substantiate concerns that having armed students in their classroom would have a "chilling effect" on the free exchange of ideas.

Yeakel said that, because they failed to clearly show they were harmed by the law, they had no legal standing to pursue the suit.

Jason LaFond, arguing for the Texas Solicitor General's Office, said Yeakel's ruling should stand. He argued that the subjective fear of a student bringing a gun to the classroom doesn't give them standing to challenge the law, he said.

"Lots of people fear flying," LaFond told the panel. "That doesn't mean it's reasonable to think that a plane is going to crash."

Renea Hicks, arguing for the professors, said they should have the freedom to control their classroom. And, he said, the law denies the professors the right to take steps against a very real danger. He mentioned campus shootings in Texas, Florida and Virginia Tech.

"We're not asking for government protection. We're asking for self-protection," Hicks said. "The government won't let them protect themselves" by banning guns from their classrooms.

He also said national studies and the views of national professional organizations, including the American Association of University Professors, attest to the harm guns in a classroom can do to academic freedom.

Judges Carolyn Dineen King, Leslie Southwick and James Ho heard the arguments. Ho appeared skeptical of Hicks' arguments, questioning whether the law could be challenged because fear of guns might squelch free speech at a public park.

King was nominated to the appeals court by President Jimmy Carter, Southwick by President George W. Bush and Ho by President Donald Trump.

There was no indication when the appellate judges would rule.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • NationalMore>>

  • Elon Musk apologizes for calling cave rescue diver a 'pedo'

    Elon Musk apologizes for calling cave rescue diver a 'pedo'

    Wednesday, July 18 2018 3:50 AM EDT2018-07-18 07:50:30 GMT
    Wednesday, July 18 2018 10:51 AM EDT2018-07-18 14:51:46 GMT
    In a series of tweets late Tuesday, the Tesla CEO said he had "spoken in anger" on Sunday after diver Vern Unsworth criticized him and SpaceX engineers. (Source: CNN)In a series of tweets late Tuesday, the Tesla CEO said he had "spoken in anger" on Sunday after diver Vern Unsworth criticized him and SpaceX engineers. (Source: CNN)

    In a series of tweets late Tuesday, the Tesla CEO said he had "spoken in anger" on Sunday after diver Vern Unsworth criticized him and SpaceX engineers.

    In a series of tweets late Tuesday, the Tesla CEO said he had "spoken in anger" on Sunday after diver Vern Unsworth criticized him and SpaceX engineers.

  • Candidate for Alaska House doesn't live in Alaska

    Candidate for Alaska House doesn't live in Alaska

    Wednesday, July 18 2018 10:41 AM EDT2018-07-18 14:41:40 GMT
    Wednesday, July 18 2018 10:51 AM EDT2018-07-18 14:51:41 GMT
    (AP Photo/Julio Cortez). In a photo taken Thursday, July 12, 2018, Carol Hafner poses for The Associated Press in Lincroft, N.J. Hafner is a congressional candidate running in the August primary election in the U.S. House in Alaska.(AP Photo/Julio Cortez). In a photo taken Thursday, July 12, 2018, Carol Hafner poses for The Associated Press in Lincroft, N.J. Hafner is a congressional candidate running in the August primary election in the U.S. House in Alaska.
    Some Alaska Democratic party leaders are questioning the authenticity of a candidate running in their primary for U.S. House.
    Some Alaska Democratic party leaders are questioning the authenticity of a candidate running in their primary for U.S. House.
  • Ex-FBI chief Comey urges voters to support Democrats in fall

    Ex-FBI chief Comey urges voters to support Democrats in fall

    Wednesday, July 18 2018 4:40 AM EDT2018-07-18 08:40:44 GMT
    Wednesday, July 18 2018 10:50 AM EDT2018-07-18 14:50:32 GMT
    The former FBI director recently said he no longer considers himself a Republican. (Source: Twitter/@Comey)The former FBI director recently said he no longer considers himself a Republican. (Source: Twitter/@Comey)

    The former FBI director recently said he no longer considers himself a Republican.

    The former FBI director recently said he no longer considers himself a Republican.

Powered by Frankly