Christopher v. Ramsey County et al.

 

Case Summary

In this case, the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus, along with two individual plaintiffs (Sarah Cade Hauptman and Rev. Tim Christopher), are suing the Minnesota State Agricultural Society, Ramsey County, and Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher (in his official capacity), for the State Fair's prohibition on the lawful carry of firearms at the Minnesota State Fair.

The State Fair has, for years, claimed that firearms are prohibited at the State Fair and has occasionally posted signs to this effect. In 2020, the State Fair announced that they would be installing metal detectors. In addition, the State Agricultural Society chose to disband their police department and instead has contracted with Ramsey County and the Ramsey County Sheriff's Department, through a Joint Powers Agreement, to provide law enforcement services at the 2021 State Fair.

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

In addition, our lawsuit alleges serious violations of the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act for the State Agricultural Society's failure to update and ensure accuracy of their data inventory and data access policy (which the Agricultural Society's counsel admits does not exist, but are required by law).

We are seeking an injunction against the State Agricultural Society, Ramsey County, and Sheriff Fletcher prohibiting them from excluding or ejecting Minnesotans with a valid permit to carry from the Minnesota State Fair and an order requiring compliance with the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act and the imposition of a civil penalty for their violation of the act.  We are also asking for the award of our full costs, expenses, and reasonable attorney's fees incurred in this action.

Case Details

  • Case Title:  The Reverend Tim Christopher, Sarah Cade Hauptman, and the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus v. Ramsey County, Bob Fletcher, in his official capacity as Ramsey County Sheriff, and the State Agricultural Society.
  • Case Short Title:  Christopher v. Ramsey County et al.
  • Current Court:  Minnesota - Second Judicial District (Ramsey County)
  • Previous Court(s):  N/A.
  • Case #:   62-CV-21-4223

News Coverage

Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus Timeline & Actions

The Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus is a plaintiff in this case.

Counsel of Record

The Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus is represented in this case by Scott M. Flaherty of Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP in Minneapolis.

Next Steps

  • Our motion for a Temporary Injunction has been denied by Judge Laura Nelson as of 8/25/21.
  • We filed an amended complaint on 9/17/21 including additional civil violations and claims and additional facts in the case.
  • The defendants have until Thursday, 9/30/21 to answer the complaint and/or file motions to dismiss the case.

How you can help

Our affiliated 501(c)(3), the Minnesota Gun Owners Support Fund, underwrites the majority of our legal action efforts.

You can make a tax-deductible donation directly to our Support Fund at this link.

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