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Judge upholds ban on guns on University of Missouri campuses

Nov. 21, 2019
The university system has the constitutional authority to restrict people from possessing firearms on its campuses, the judge says.

The University of Missouri System’s ban on carrying guns on campus has been upheld by a Columbia judge.

The Columbia Missourian reports that Boone County Circuit Court Judge Jeff Harris has issued a 31-page ruling that the ban does not violate the state constitution.

In deciding the case, Harris relied in part on the testimony of Mun Choi, president of the University of Missouri System. 

Choi testfied that the ban "helps create a positive learning and research enivronment; serves the university's interest in developing an eminent faculty and talented staff; and his opinion, helps students and guests feel safe and secure on campus."

Two lawsuits filed in 2015 by the state's attorney general and MU law professor Royce Barondes had challenged the ban on carrying guns on campus.

At an August hearing, Univesity of Missouri-Columbia Police Chief Doug Schwandt and University of Missouri-St. Louis Police Chief Dan Freet testified in favor of the gun ban.

"The court finds Chief Schwandt's and Chief Freet's testimony credible and persuasive," the judge wrote. "They are gun enthusiasts wit nearly 70 years of law enforcement experience, and they are unequivocally opposed to changing the rule."

Students voiced support for the gun ban on campus.

“As a senior at MU, I am in full and unquestioned support of this ruling,” says Sarah Sweeney, a senior on the Columbia campus. “Throughout my time here, there have been many present threats on campus, guns not being one of them.”

Catherine Davis, a junior on MU’s campus, said, “I think that’s a pretty smart idea. Campus is an environment to learn, so if we were to allow guns, it would make me feel unsafe.” 

Schwandt testified that removing the ban “would have nothing but adverse impacts in countless ways,” and that the “introduction of firearms onto our college campus … would lead to a number of safety concerns for our community.”

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