A University of Missouri law professor who wants to carry a gun on campus says the university is retaliating against him for challenging its gun prohibition as unconstitutional.
Two years ago, Royce de R. Barondes sued the UM System Board of Curators and the system president claiming that policies prohibiting guns on the Columbia campus violated state statute on guns and the Missouri Constitution.
Now, in documents filed with the Circuit Court of Boone County, Barondes and his lawyers claim the university is retaliating against the associate professor with counter legal action.
They claim the university is going after Barondes because he filed a lawsuit that he believes defends his constitutional right to keep and bear firearms.
“The University’s retaliatory pleading is not what any employee, student, taxpayer, or citizen should expect from Missouri’s flagship institution committed to higher learning,” the court document states. “Its counterclaims and attempts to seek attorneys’ fees against an employee are improper and without legal basis.”
University officials declined to discuss the latest legal action. “Due to the fact that this is in litigation we cannot discuss it publicly,” said Christian Basi, spokesman for the university curators and the University of Missouri campus.
Barondes’ initial lawsuit challenging the university gun rule does not seek any money damages but asks that the school pay his attorney’s fees.
The suit, which names the State of Missouri and Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley as plaintiffs against the university system, says Missouri law would allow Barondes as a state employee to leave his licensed fire arm out of sight and locked away in his vehicle while he is working on campus.
A curators’ rule prohibits guns on the MU campus “except in regularly approved programs or by university agents or employees in the line of duty.”
The university counter sued claiming it feared Barondes would bring a gun on campus while the lawsuit was pending. The university sought a court order forbidding Barondes from bringing a gun onto campus.
This week Barondes, who has worked at MU since 2002 and teaches a course at on firearms law, and his attorneys claimed the university’s request for an injunction and payment of attorney fees was retaliation for Barondes suing in the first place.
“He wants to be able to keep and bear arms on campus generally,” said Edward Greim, an attorney for Barondes.
Barondes has said that if he wins prevails in this case he will carry his gun on campus.
“We want to have a good legal fight here to get to the bottom on this,” Greim said. “At the end of the day we want to get a decision on the underlying legal issues.”
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