A gun-rights group is suing the organizers of the Minnesota State Fair this year over its prohibition on the lawful carry of firearms during the event that runs from Aug. 26- Sept. 6, 2021.
The Minnesota Gun Owner’s Caucus filed the lawsuit on Tuesday, naming the Minnesota State Agricultural Society, Ramsey County, and Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher as defendants.
The caucus argues that state law “supersedes and preempts” local regulations on one’s right to keep and bear arms. The power to regulate 2A rights in Minnesota, to the degree that it can be regulated under the purview of the U.S. Constitution, only rests with the Legislature. State agencies and local police departments do not have that power.
“As a subdivision of the government of the State of Minnesota, the State Agricultural Society, which operates the Minnesota State Fair, is completely preempted by state statutes from interfering with the lawful exercise of a Minnesota Permit to Carry under MN 624.714 and from local regulation of firearms under MN 471.633 and MN 624.717,” the group notes on its case summary.
When asked to comment on the merits of the lawsuit, the Minnesota State Fair punted.
“The State Fair does not comment on pending litigation,” it said in a statement to local media. “We will maintain our time-honored Minnesota tradition of peaceful, family-friendly fairs by protecting the safety and security of our guests.”
The Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office, however, claimed that organizers had the power to determine who can bring firearms into the Fair because it’s been that way for years.
“The Minnesota State Agricultural Society, who operates the Minnesota State Fair, sets its own policies regarding admission to the State Fair,” said the sheriff’s office in a statement.
“These practices have been consistent over many years. The Agricultural Society has contracts with private security firms and the Minnesota State Patrol to ensure safe and secure access to the Minnesota State Fair at its 11 public gates.”
The caucus is primarily seeking an injunction that would prohibit organizers from excluding or ejecting Minnesotans with a valid permit to carry from the Minnesota State Fair.
“The State Agricultural Society, Ramsey County, and Sheriff Fletcher must follow the laws of the State of Minnesota,” said Bryan Strawser, Chair, MN Gun Owners Caucus in a press release obtained by GunsAmerica. “There is simply no legal or constitutional justification for the prohibition on lawful, permitted carry of firearms at the Minnesota State Fair.”
“Not only is the Fair breaking the law by attempting to enforce a policy banning firearms this year, but they are also actively denying every law-abiding permit holder the ability to travel safely to and from the fair, ” added Rob Doar, Political Director.
“Despite millions of visitors every year, the Fair has no record of any person being ejected for carrying a firearm or any issues with the civilian carry of firearms,” he continued. “Their policy is not only illegal, but it’s also unnecessary.”
For updates or to make donations to the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus visit their website at gunowners.mn.