Law Professor Sues University of Missouri
Over Right To Carry On Campus
University of Missouri-Columbia Law School
Royce de Barondes, Associate Professor of Law at the University of Missouri-Columbia, has filed a lawsuit against the University naming the President and the Curators as defendants. Basically, Professor Barondes is suing to enforce his right to carry on campus. Perhaps it is worth noting, Professor Barondes is not only a Law Professor, he teaches “Firearms Law.” Who better to bring this suit but the University’s own expert on Firearms Law?
Joining in the lawsuit to defend the Professor’s Second Amendment rights is the Attorney General of the State of Missouri. That’s right. Our Attorney General is suing the University of Missouri over its ‘no guns allowed’ policy!
The Attorney General has stated his reason for intervening in this case is to “vindicate the rights of University of Missouri Professor Royce Barondes and all other Missouri citizens whose rights to keep and to bear arms as guaranteed by Article I, section 23 of the Missouri Constitution have been compromised by …the University of Missouri.”
The Curators’ Firearms Regulation: University of Missouri System Regulations prohibit “[t]he possession … of firearms … on University property … except in regularly approved programs or by University agents or employees in the line of duty. ” With exceptions only for campus police and “regularly approved programs,” the Regulation prohibits the possession of firearms everywhere on University property.
This regulation violates state statutes.
- Unless otherwise prohibited (by law), a person may carry a firearm openly (anywhere) in the State of Missouri.
- “The state shall not prohibit any state employee from having a firearm in the employee’s vehicle on the state’s property provided that the vehicle is locked and the firearm is not visible.” Professor Barondes, and all other University employees are “state employees.” as defined by law.
- University regulations that conflict with state law are unenforceable.
In addition to violating state statutes, the University prohibition violates the Missouri Constitution.
“The right of every citizen to keep and bear arms, ammunition, and accessories typical to the normal function of such arms, in defense of his home, person, family and property, shall not be questioned. The rights guaranteed by this section shall be unalienable.”
The Missouri Constitution goes on to state “[a]ny restriction on these rights shall be subject to strict scrutiny.” “Strict (Judicial) Scrutiny is considered the ‘most rigorous and exacting standard of constitutional review,’ strict scrutiny is generally satisfied only if the law at issue is ‘narrowly tailored to achieve a compelling interest.’ ” To be narrowly tailored, a law must not burden substantially more constitutional rights than necessary to further the government’s interest.
The University’s prohibition, however, is not narrowly tailored. For example, the Regulation makes it impossible for any University employee who parks on University property to possess a firearm while driving directly to and from work. The Regulation substantially burdens the ability of University employees to possess firearms off campus when on the way to or from work. Therefore, Professor Barondes cannot possess a firearm while attending an after-work service project in a high crime area or while completing an evening firearms training course without first returning home to retrieve his firearm or collecting it from a secure, off-campus location. By diminishing the right of University employees, like Professor Barondes, to possess firearms during the workweek, regardless of whether they are on University property or acting within the scope of their employment, the Regulation burdens substantially more constitutional rights than necessary.
The suit goes on to argue, for example, a University employee who obtains a CCW and an order of protection after receiving a direct threat of violence (from an ex-spouse) has no clear way to request Defendants’ permission to carry a concealed firearm for personal protection while at work. A faculty member whose protected speech sparks country-wide vitriol and threats also has no clear way to request Defendants’ permission to carry a concealed firearm while at work. Therefore, the right of University employees with valid CCWs is meaningless if the Regulation bans those individuals from carrying concealed firearms on University property and provides no meaningful process for them to request and receive permission to do so in the first place.
The suit seeks an order from the Court;
- Declaring that the Regulation conflicts with state statute and is therefore preempted and unenforceable to the extent it prohibits Professor Barondes and other University employees from: (1) possessing firearms while driving their vehicles on University property to and from work; and, (2) keeping firearms secured and out-of-sight in their locked vehicles parked on University property while conducting activities within the scope of their employment.
- Permanently enjoining the University from enforcing the Regulation to the extent it prohibits Professor Barondes and other University employees from: (1) possessing firearms while driving their vehicles on University property to and from work; and, (2) to the extent it prohibits keeping firearms secured and out-of-sight in their locked vehicles parked on University property while conducting activities within the scope of their employment.
- Permanently enjoining the University from enforcing the Regulation to the extent it prohibits Professor Barondes and other University employees from: (1) possessing firearms while driving their vehicles on University property to and from work; and, (2) keeping firearms secured and out-of-sight in their locked vehicles parked on University property while conducting activities within the scope of their employment.
- Enjoining and instructing the University to establish within 90 days of the entry of judgment a meaningful process for University employees with valid CCWs to request and receive permission (pursuant to RSMo. § 571.107.1(10)) to carry concealed firearms while at work.
Conclusion. This case was originally filed in Cole County, on September 19, 2015. It was subsequently transferred to Boone County Circuit Court and assigned to Judge Jeff Harris. After almost a year and nine months, it may finally be nearing a trial setting. The decision of the trial court may be appealed so a final decision may not be coming any time soon. Nevertheless, it is an important case to watch. I cannot imagine how the court could uphold the University’s prohibition in light of Missouri’s Constitution and state statutes to the contrary. Of course, the court has surprised me in the past …
In any event, continue to watch this column and I will keep you posted.
Note: since the fall semester of 2006, Utah has allowed concealed carry on its nine public colleges, and one public technical college, with no uptick in gun-related violence. In addition, concealed carry has been allowed on the two Colorado State University campuses — in Fort Collins and Pueblo — since 2003 and 14 Colorado community colleges since 2010. All Mississippi public colleges have allowed campus carry since 2011 and, as of last year, all Idaho public colleges have allowed it, all with no major incidents.
Royce de R. Barondes, the MU professor behind a lawsuit that challenges restrictions on carrying a firearm on campus.
 Case Number: 16BA-CV03144
 RSMo. § 21.750.3(2).
 RSMo. § 517.030.6.
 RSMo. § 517.030.6.
 Babb v. Missouri Pub. Serv. Comm’n, 414 S.W.3d 64, 70 (Mo. App.W.D. 2013).
 Mo. Const. art. I, § 23
 Dotson v. Kander, 464 S.W.3d 190, 197 (Mo. banc 2015)
 Phelps-Roper v. Nixon, 509 F.3d 480, 487 (8th Cir. 2007), modified on reh’g, 545 F.3d 685 (8th Cir. 2008).