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Guns on campus lawsuit to continue without professor

A professor who filed a lawsuit against the University of Missouri to invalidate a ban on guns on campus will no longer be a party to the case.

MU law professor Royce Barondes was dismissed from the case Thursday per the terms of a settlement reached with the university. No money was exchanged in the settlement, MU spokesman Christian Basi said.

The lawsuit, however, will continue — the Missouri Attorney General’s Office, which had filed a suit in support of Barondes — will continue the litigation.

Barondes in a written statement cited cost as the reason for his exit as a party to the case. Barondes wrote that the lawsuit has thus far cost him $400,000.

“I have concluded it is most economical now to rely on the efforts of the State of Missouri’s legal staff, which is separately continuing to sue the University of Missouri, alleging firearms civil rights violations,” Barondes wrote.

Circuit Judge Jeff Harris ruled last month that the university’s prohibition of guns on campus does not conflict with state statute, but wrote that a bench trial is warranted on claims that the rule conflicts with the state constitution’s guarantee of the right to bear arms. That right was enshrined in the state constitution when voters passed an amendment in 2014.

The Missouri Attorney General’s Office under former Attorney General Chris Koster filed a companion suit supporting Bardones’ claims, and the court combined the two lawsuits. Harris heard arguments in the case in July.

The office of current Attorney General Josh Hawley said the office joined the suit “to preserve the constitutional rights of all Missourians.”

Basi said the university continues to work toward a trial on the constitutional question. In the meantime, MU has not changed any of its rules and regulations regarding firearms on campus, he said.

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