Back in 2015, a University of Missouri professor name Royce Barondes sued the UM system and its regents over the university’s prohibition on bringing firearms onto the campus. Barondes argued that a state law blocking prosecution of state employees for unlawful use of a weapon if they keep a firearm out of sight in a locked compartment of a car parked on state property should have protected him, but in 2019 a trial court judge disagreed, ruling that the university’s policy wasn’t in conflict with state law.
Barondes appealed the decision, and on Tuesday an appellate court in Missouri reversed the lower court ruling, at least in part, and agreed that Barondes has the right to leave his legally-owned gun locked in his car on campus.
The decision from the appeals court was both from an employee case brought against the university in 2015 and by Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt in 2016. It was written by Division One Judge W. Douglas Thomson.
The case also involved a state constitution analysis with regard to the firearm prohibition by a public entity — the university.
The appeals court decided that employees cannot be prohibited from bringing a gun to campus, so long as their possession still follows the state statute.
It also decided that the university rule was constitutional, aligning with the trial court ruling. So, while university employees may bring a gun to campus, they still cannot fire a gun, bring explosives or other weapons. The rule still also applies to anyone else on campus who is not an employee.
So, if you’re an employee of the university like Professor Barondes, you can now bring your gun with you to campus as long as its locked in your car (the university’s prohibition still applies to students and visitors). Under the appellate court’s decision, however, if Barondes ever had to use his firearm in self-defense on campus he’d be in violation of the university’s policy.
If that were to ever come to pass, I’m guessing that Barondes (or any other employee in a similar situation) would pursue another lawsuit seeking to undo whatever punishment the university might hand down for discharging a firearm on campus, even to prevent the loss of life or great bodily harm.
Clearly the court’s decision isn’t a perfect outcome as far as the Second Amendment is concerned, but it is a big step forward, assuming the state Supreme Court upholds the appellate court’s ruling. Barondes and other university employees can now at least have a firearm with them as they travel to and from their on-campus job, ensuring that they won’t be disarmed by university policy even when they’re off the clock and not at work.