This Nobel Laureate Became an Unlikely Force in Texas’ Campus Carry Debate

“It’s a difficult position. I love the University of Texas, and I hate to be in a position of violating its regulations.”

By Rhonda FanningJanuary 27, 2016 11:57 am| ,

On Monday, University of Texas at Austin professor Steven Weinberg said a faculty meeting that despite campus carry legislation, he would not be allowing guns in his classroom when the law takes effect in August.

Since then, he’s become something of an unlikely leader in the campus carry debate, the Texas Tribune reports.

Weinberg spoke with Texas Standard about his opposition to campus carry and how he’s willing to fight it.

On what transpired at that UT Faculty Council meeting:

“I urged a compromise in one respect. That instead of banning guns altogether from classrooms, as the faculty council had urged, or admitting entirely to all classrooms as the Goode Committee reluctantly recommended, I urged that we leave it up to the individual faculty member. And I said for my own part, I would exclude guns from the classroom.”

On the potential of a lawsuit against him:

“I think, and some members of the law school at UT think, that a law that requires faculty to admit guns into the classroom where controversial matters may be discussed, does put an undue burden on the rights guaranteed under the First Amendment. … I am urging that the university adopt a policy of faculty choice, which would avoid the conflict with the First Amendment. I think that if I did wind up in court, that’s the argument I would make. And no federal court has heard this issue. This is, at the moment, an open issue.”

On what he’ll do if he’s forced to allow guns:

“You know, it’s a difficult position. I love the University of Texas and I hate to be in a position of violating its regulations. I think I will probably do what I did this time and put a line into the syllabus of my course saying that guns are not allowed in the class, and then leave it up to their sense of honor to comply with the statement.”