Federal Judge Stops Campus Gun Grabbers in Texas
You might remember a few months ago when a woman at Kent State took a picture of herself openly carrying an AR-10 on campus. It caused huge uproar on both sides of the political aisle, and it helped add fuel to the fire of gun debates — especially those centered on college campuses.
This battle recently came to a head in Texas in regards to their campus carry law. We’ll take a look at the case presented and see what it means for gun rights moving forward.
Texas passed their campus carry law in 2016. Several other states have attempted to do the same with mixed levels of success. The existing Texas law is pretty simply. It states that anyone with a concealed-carry license can exercise their right to carry on public universities. Whether they are on the grounds, in a classroom or anywhere else on a public campus, they have the right to carry.
This, of course, is in line with federal law and the Constitution, but none of that stops the left from being the left. Texas’s law has been challenged and appealed as much as possible, and just recently, the 5th Circuit made a ruling to (mostly) settle the debate.
The heart of the appeals against campus carry came from three professors at the University of Texas at Austin. They flexed their academic muscles and put together the most potent legal offense they could craft. They attacked campus carry on three principles — namely that it violated the 1st, 2nd and 14th Amendments, all at the same time. We’ll look at these arguments individually.
The closest they came to a win was with their 1st Amendment argument. They suggested that the unknown possibility of students carrying guns could intimidate students and professors into silence for fear of violent reprisal. This, in theory, inhibits learning and the fundamental right to speak freely. We’ll get to the 5th Circuit rulings to these arguments in a minute, but that’s the gist of the first one.
They claim the 2nd Amendment is violated by campus carry because concealed-carry permits don’t represent a “well-regulated” militia. That’s ironic since concealed-carry permits are probably the most well-regulated aspect of modern gun laws.
As for the 14th Amendment, this argument was just plain weird. Apparently, the right of every citizen to be treated equally under the law (what the 14th promises) is violated by campus carry because, somehow, it doesn’t consistently define zones where it’s ok to have a gun?! That’s seriously the argument, and we don’t get it any more than you do.
5th Circuit Rulings
So, this is what was presented to a judge in the 5th Circuit. She somehow managed to hear it all with a straight face, and then she gave her rulings on each argument in turn. For the 1st Amendment, she answered with the obvious. Self-censorship is not a violation of the 1st Amendment. If you shy away from saying something because you’re afraid somebody might not like it, that’s on you.
If someone with a concealed-carry license waived their gun around and threatened people over the contents of their speech, that would be a problem. It’s also illegal, and campus carry doesn’t change that. So, she did the right thing and ruled in favor of campus carry on this one.
The second argument was given less consideration. While she did refer to it as “admittedly fresh,” she ruled the same way judges have for over 200 years. The right to self-defense is not dependent on some obscure militia charter. It’s God-given.
And, as for the 14th Amendment case, she didn’t give it any more credit than we did. She deemed the very premise irrational, since obviously the right to carry a gun is applied universally to all citizens. If you go through the process to get the license, you can carry. It’s simple. It’s consistent.
Overall, it was a good day for the 2nd Amendment. A judge got things right, and, for now, rights are being protected. In Texas at least. But, even this battle isn’t over. The professors and their lawyer could request that the 5th rehear their case and rule again (they get a 90-day window). That seems unlikely, but they still have the option to push this to the Supreme Court. That would probably prove good for 2nd Amendment supporters, as even the extreme leftists on the Supreme Court are unlikely to give credence to these ridiculous arguments. That doesn’t mean the Supreme Court will universally support the right to bear arms. Instead it shows that this was a weak attempt from the left. The next one might have more success.
~National Gun Network