In June, Judge Lansing Hayes told the city of Sandpoint and The Festival at Sandpoint that firearms could be banned in a public park because the city “leased” the property to The Festival.
The judge completely ignored the arguments made by the Idaho Second Amendment Alliance and the Second Amendment Foundation, who filed the lawsuit with plaintiffs Scott Herndon and Jeff Avery. The case stems from an incident several years ago when The Festival chose to ban firearms in a public park that they have a permit for several weeks every year. As a result, both Herndon and Avery were turned away from attending the event because they carried firearms at the time they were trying to go through security.
Herndon, Avery, the ISAA, and the SAF told 2nd Amendment Daily News that they will appeal to the Idaho Supreme Court in the case.
The danger of what Judge Hayes has done cannot be understated according to the parties involved.
Based on Hayes’ interpretation of the law, any city can now “lease” public property, and then a private entity can ban firearms on property owned by the taxpayers. Gun owners are concerned that cities like the city of Boise will begin leasing public property, such as a public sidewalk to a business or group “temporarily” and them banning firearms in the space.
ISAA Chairman Seth Rosquist told 2nd Amendment Daily news that the Festival case is an obvious violation of the intention of the state firearm preemption law.
ISAA and SAF attorneys argued that this opens a very dangerous door and blows it wide open for destroying the state’s firearm preemption statute. If a city/county can’t regulate firearms on public property, how can the city/county then give authority to a private entity to do what they themselves can’t do?
The ISAA hopes that the Idaho Supreme Court does the right thing and remedies what an activist judge in northern Idaho has done.
Idahoans will have a good opportunity to see how their Supreme Court Justices line up on the 2nd Amendment if they take the case up in the future.
Note: Greg Pruett serves as the President of the Idaho Second Amendment Alliance.