The University of Missouri System’s ban on carrying guns on campus has been upheld by a local judge.
Judge Jeff Harris ruled Monday that the ban does not violate the state constitution.
The rule was challenged by two separate lawsuits filed in 2015 by then Attorney General Josh Hawley and MU law professor Royce Barondes, according to previous Missourian reporting.
Students voiced support for the gun ban on campus Tuesday.
“As a senior at MU, I am in full and unquestioned support of this ruling,” Sarah Sweeney, a senior on MU’s campus, said. “Throughout my time here, there have been many present threats on campus, guns not being one of them.”
“If we were to change this rule with good intentions, I cannot help but believe that it will have a negative outcome,” she added. “If you make guns legal on campus who would be the ‘protector’ of students from other students with guns? Poor mental health, binge drinking, exclusive friend groups and depression are all very present on our campus, what would it look like if all these struggling young minds carried a gun around?”
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.”
At an August hearing before Harris, MU Police Chief Doug Schwandt and UMSL Police Chief Dan Freet both testified in favor of the gun ban, despite being firearm enthusiasts. Together, Freet and Schwandt have a total of 70 years of law enforcement, Harris noted in his ruling.
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.”
The attorney general’s office called only one witness, Dr. Carlisle Moody, statistician and professor at the College of William and Mary to speak on their behalf, according to Harris’ ruling.
At the hearing, Moody presented a report showing that violent crime was approximately 113% higher at Missouri State University compared to MU after a new policy allowing firearms to be stored in cars on campus went into effect at MSU in 2016.
In his ruling, Harris stated that Moody’s testimony arguably supports the position of MU.
The Missourian has received no response to the ruling from either Barondes or the attorney general’s office.