A Circuit judge this week said the University of Missouri can keep their gun free zone but questions about how constitutional it is still need to be resolved.
Circuit Judge Jeff Harris ruled Wednesday that the school’s ban doesn’t violate state statute, but went on to reportedly contend the school’s firearm policy may not square with the state constitution itself, a question that would need to be satisfied at a bench trial.
The suit argued the university’s policy oversteps state law because it prohibits all law-abiding employees with valid concealed carry permits from carrying concealed firearms on school property while conducting activities within the scope of their employment — regardless of the employees’ individual circumstances or safety concerns.
“Given that the university has admitted it will sometimes permit concealed carry permit holders to possess firearms in vehicles on university property, it will be interesting to see how the curators try to justify selective enforcement of an absolute firearms ban,” Barondes told the Columbia Daily Tribune.
In 2015, Royce de R. Barondes, an associate professor of law at the school, sued UM over his right to carry on campus. Barondes has taught at the college since 2002 and obtained tenure in 2006, but incidents on campus and Missouri’s recent expansion of gun rights protections under the state constitution sparked him to seek to overturn the school’s no-gun policy.
In the three years since the legal challenge was first launched, attorneys for the school managed to move the case to federal court where they countersued the professor — seeking a further court order to prevent him from bringing a gun on campus, as well potentially putting him on the hook for crippling fees for their large legal team — a move which brought the Missouri Attorney General’s Office into the action on Barondes’ behalf. Now back in a state court, the lawsuits have been consolidated.
“We are pleased with the court’s ruling on the state statute issue and will be working toward the trial on the remaining issue,” said UM spokesman Christian Basi.