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Thread: Tarrant County College / Empty Holster Ruling

  1. #1
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    http://www.star-telegram.com/2010/03...rights-in.html

    By BILL HANNA
    billhanna@star-telegram.com
    FORT WORTH -- A federal judge has ruled that Tarrant County College violated the First Amendment rights of two students when it prohibited their attempts to stage empty-holster protests last fall.
    U.S. District Judge Terry R. Means permanently enjoined TCC Chancellor Erma Johnson Hadley and the college from blocking empty-holster protests on campus, including in the classroom.
    Further, Means said the college's co-sponsorship provision, limiting students' ability to invite outside organizations onto the campus, "broadly prohibits any speech by students that involves an off-campus organization."
    Means added that the co-sponsorship provision "prohibits students from the most basic forms of expressive activity -- distribution of literature, use of signs and even assembly -- based on no more than the fact that the expression might depend on an off-campus organization for planning or management."
    The case arose after TCC blocked a request to stage an empty-holster protest by students Clayton Smith and John Schwertz Jr. last November on the TCC Northeast Campus. The ruling allows the students to seek attorney's fees from the college.
    The two students, with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union, filed suit against TCC. The protests advocated a change in state law to allow licensed concealed handgun owners to bring their guns onto campus. But the lawsuit and subsequent trial came to be viewed as a debate over free speech rather than gun rights.
    Public safety issue
    "We're really pleased with Judge Mean's opinion," said ACLU attorney Lisa Graybill. "The ruling permanently enjoins Ms. Hadley from stopping these protests. They're going to be able to wear their holsters in the classroom."
    Smith, who was still reviewing the ruling, declined comment until he could consult with his attorneys.
    Last fall, Means issued a temporary injunction allowing the empty-holster protests to go forward. They were held on the Northeast Campus and South Campus and no problems were reported.
    After the lawsuit was filed, TCC revised its student handbook to allow empty-holster protests in public areas on campus but barred them in classrooms and hallways, saying that they would be disruptive. During the trial in January, Hadley testified that she worried the protests could frighten students or even allow another student to use the protests as cover for bringing a weapon onto campus.
    Hadley wasn't available for comment Monday, but TCC attorney Angela Robinson said the college wasn't surprised by Means' ruling.
    "The college approached this from a safety issue; the plaintiffs approached this as a First Amendment issue," Robinson said. "The court issued a very detailed opinion and it did strike a fair balance to both sides."
    Marketplace of ideas
    The empty-holster protests began being held at campuses across the country after the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting. TCC denied empty-holster protests in April 2008 and April 2009 and limited any protest to designated free-speech zones.
    Another protest is scheduled for April and both Smith and Schwertz have said they plan to participate.
    Even though Smith, now a student at the University of Texas at Arlington, will be allowed to participate, Means did not rule on the issue of whether off-campus visitors can participate in the protests. Since the college still considers Smith a student, Means said the plaintiffs have no standing on that issue.
    During the trial, Means recalled dealing with volatile protests on the SMU campus as student body president that were allowed to take place with the assistance of the administration. In his ruling, Means expressed frustration that TCC did not seem to embrace the idea that a campus is "a marketplace of ideas" for its students.
    BILL HANNA, 817-390-7698

    Read more: http://www.star-telegram.com/2010/03...#ixzz0iNUA7Syw


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    By BILL HANNA billhanna@star-telegram.com wrote:
    http://www.star-telegram.com/2010/03...rights-in.html

    By BILL HANNA
    billhanna@star-telegram.com

    During the trial in January, Hadley testified that she worried the protests could frighten students or even allow another student to use the protests as cover for bringing a weapon onto campus.
    Hadley wasn't available for comment Monday, but TCC attorney Angela Robinson said the college wasn't surprised by Means' ruling.
    "The college approached this from a safety issue; the plaintiffs approached this as a First Amendment issue," Robinson said.
    BILL HANNA, 817-390-7698

    Read more: http://www.star-telegram.com/2010/03...#ixzz0iNUA7Syw
    Safety is the first act of security theater and the tyrant's tool because no one can be against safety.

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    Rock on!

    Wow, safety issue?


    Good evening, this is RKBA-2 Action News, reporting live from Tarrant County College in Forth Worth, at approximately 12-noon today, an empty-holster jumped off of a student's belt and managed to strangle seven people, killing one, critically injuring the others. Whenlocal policeofficers and sheriff's deputiesarrived on scene, they attempted to apprehend the gunless holster but were surprised by the leather-cladsuspect when it emerged from nearby bushes and took one of the officer's guns and began shooting. Three officers were hit but only critically injured in the assault. The gun-man, errr, gun-holder, then left the campus and it's whereabouts are presently unknown. Immediately, Tarrant County College leaders began drafting rules to prohibit the carrying of an empty holster oncampus locationsfor any reason at anytime adding to an existing ban on guns.

    As developments occur, we will keep you updated, live on scene, through the evening.
    //

    Poppycock!

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