A group made up of professors, and a few others, rallied behind their common goal of a gun-free UT on Monday at the University of Texas at Austin. This pushback against a state campus carry law passed last session has been building for months. The new law is set to take effect next year.
The protesters’ message was loud and clear: ban guns or we could sue. Law professor Ken Williams from South Texas College of Law in Houston says their main claim will center aroudn the obligation of universities to provide a safe environment to both the students and the faculty.
“What the professors will argue, and the students will argue, is that having so many students with guns on campus actually makes it an unsafe environment for them,” Williams says. “That at any moment students could become upset at a professor or another student and end up shooting someone.”
Williams says the group most likely will sue the individual state university, in this case the University of Texas at Austin.
“I don’t think the immunity will be a big issue because they’re [the group] not really seeking damages,” he says. “What they’re seeking to do is to stop the law from going into effect. So they, in effect, would be seeking an injunction against the law.”
On the other side of the potential suit, Williams says the proponents of the law will most likely invoke the Second Amendment.
“I think it’s gonna play a major role because, even though [campus carry is] a state law, the Second Amendment prohibits the states, or a state university, from infringing on the Second Amendment,” Williams says. “There’s certainly students at the University of Texas, or even faculty members, who will want to carry guns. So they’re gonna argue that this attempt is actually an infringement upon their rights.”
Listen to the full interview in the audio player above.