NEW ORLEANS (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Attorneys for three University of Texas at Austin professors are set to ask a federal appeals court Wednesday to revive their lawsuit against a law allowing people with concealed-handgun licenses to carry weapons on public campuses.
A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans will hear the arguments.
According to court filings, the professors believe the presence of guns in their classrooms could discourage open academic discussion and that having weapons on campus could be dangerous when talks wade into politically charged topics.
Last year, a federal judge in Texas dismissed the suit. Austin-based U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel said they offered “no concrete evidence” to substantiate such concerns.
Yeakel said that, because they failed to clearly show they were harmed by the law, they had no legal standing to pursue the suit.
Attorneys for the professors — sociology professor Jennifer Lynn Glass, and English professors Lisa Moore and Mia Carter — said Yeakel was wrong to dismiss the suit.
In court briefs they said he had not given them sufficient opportunity to present evidence. They 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.
Attorneys for the state of Texas said Yeakel was correct to dismiss the suit, saying the professors’ fear “is subjective and completely dependent on the acts of third parties.”
There was no indication when the appellate judges would rule.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)