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 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
- August 10, 2021: MPR - Lawsuit: State Fair must allow people to carry guns
- August 10, 2021: Associated Press - Group sues for right to carry guns at Minnesota State Fair
- August 10, 2021: Star Tribune - Gun rights group sues to let State Fair visitors be armed
- August 10, 2021: MPR - Evening News Update, including lawsuit story
- August 10, 2021: WCCO - Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus sues for right to carry guns at state fair
- August 10, 2021: KSTP - Group sues for right to carry guns at Minnesota State Fair
- August 10, 2021: KARE - Gun owners group sued over firearms ban at the Minnesota State Fair
- August 10, 2021: KMSP - Gun owner's group sues Minnesota State Fair to allow permit holders to carry guns
- August 10, 2021: Washington Examiner - Minnesota gun-rights group sues for right to bear arms at state fair
- August 10, 2021: MinnPost - Gun group sues to carry weapons into State Fair
- August 10, 2021: Pioneer Press - Gun advocacy group says metal detectors at State Fair prompted lawsuit to protect gun owners' right to carry
- August 11, 2021: WCCO News Talk 830 Radio - Jordana Green interviews MN Gun Owners Caucus Political Director Rob Doar about our lawsuit
- August 11, 2021: FOX News - Gun rights group sues Minnesota state fair for banning weapons on the fairgrounds
- August 11, 2021: KTTC - A constitutional law professor breaks down Second Amendment after gun owner's group sues Minnesota State Fair
- Note: This story contains commentary by an academic who clearly did not read our filings in the case.
- August 12, 2021: Session/Law - Soundoff on the Minnesota State Fair lawsuit by the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus
- August 14, 2021: Star Tribune Editorial - Say no to guns at the State Fair: Groups lawsuit is both unnecessary and dangerous
- August 19, 2021: Star Tribune / Associated Press - Judge promises quick ruling on guns at the State Fair
- August 19, 2021: MPR - Judge plans to decide soon if guns will be allowed inside State Fair
- August 25, 2021: Minnesota Reformer - Judge won't force Minnesota State Fair to let visitors bring guns as lawsuit proceeds
- August 25, 2021: MPR - Judge denies request to allow guns at Minnesota State Fair
- August 25, 2021: AP - Judge rejects bid to allow guns at Minnesota State Fair
- August 25, 2021: WCCO - Judge rules permit holders cannot carry guns at Minnesota State Fair
- August 25, 2021: Star Tribune - Gun owners group loses bid to allow permit carriers to bring guns to the Minnesota State Fair
Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus Timeline & Actions
The Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus is a plaintiff in this case.
- August 10, 2021: MN Gun Owners Caucus, along with two individual plaintiffs, files complaint & injunction against the MN State Agricultural Society, Ramsey County, and Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher.
- Press Release
- Complaint & Exhibits
- Plaintiff's Motion for Temporary Injunction
- Proposed Order for Temporary Injunction
- Plaintiff's Memorandum of Law in Support of Temporary Injunction
- Declaration of Bryan Strawser
- Declaration of Rob Doar
- Declaration of Reverend Tim Christopher
- Declaration of Sarah Cade Hauptman
- Declaration of Bridget Boyle & exhibits
- Notice of Plaintiff's Motion for Temporary Injunction
- August 10, 2021: Brian Bakst with Minnesota Public Radio files a 'Notice of Visual or Audio Coverage' with the court desiring to cover the case by visual and/or audio means.
- August 13, 2021: Summons returned from the case to the defendants.
- August 13, 2021: Affidavit of Service returned from the service of the suit upon the defendants
- August 13, 2021: Declaration of Professor Joseph Olson re: Preemption Laws in Minnesota & Legislative Intent
- Exhibit A of Professor Olson's Declaration, a Fall 2003 Hamline Journal of Public Law and Policy article entitled 'The Minnesota Citizens' Personal Protection Act of 2003: History and Commentary'
- August 16, 2021: Order from the Judge authorizing Minnesota Public Radio to record and/or stream the hearing. The Caucus did not object to this motion by Minnesota Public Radio.
- August 16, 2021: Ramsey County and Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher have filed their response to our complaint in advance of the August 19th, 2021 Hearing:
- August 16, 2021: The State Agricultural Society has filed its response to our complaint in advance of the August 19th, 2021 Hearing:
- State Agricultural Society's Memorandum of Law in Opposition to Temporary Injunction
- Declaration of State Fair General Manager Jerry Hammer
- Declaration of State Fair Deputy General Manager Renee Alexander
- Declaration of Counsel Pari McGarraugh
- Exhibit A: MNGOPAC description from Caucus Website
- Exhibit B: Tweet from MN Gun Owners Caucus referencing 2017 State Fair Survey
- Exhibit C: 2017 MN Gun Owners Caucus State Fair Survey from Caucus Website
- Exhibit D: MN Gun Owners Caucus Tweet from 1 January 2020
- Exhibit E: Ramsey County Court - Weapons Policy
- Exhibit F: Hennepin County Court - Weapons Policy
- Exhibit G: MN House Research - 1994 Policy Briefing on 0.08 BAC Limit
- Exhibit H: Star Tribune Article on State Fair Lawsuit - August 10, 2021
- Exhibit I: Star Tribune / Associated Press Article on State Fair Lawsuit - August 10, 2021
- Exhibit J: Star Tribune Editorial on State Fair Lawsuit - August 14, 2021
- August 25, 2021: Judge Laura Nelson denied our request for a Temporary Injunction (filed on 8/10/21).
- September 17, 2021: We file an amended complaint against the MN State Agricultural Society, Ramsey County, and Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher.
Counsel of Record
- 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.
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