AUGUST 10th, 2021
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PRESS RELEASE: MN Gun Owners Caucus files suit seeking an injunction against State Agricultural Society, Ramsey County, and Sheriff Bob Fletcher over violations of the Second Amendment & Minnesota statutes
The suit also alleges serious violations of the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act.
The case, Christopher v. Ramsey County et al., is the latest legal effort in the Caucus's planned litigation in Minnesota to secure the right to keep and bear arms throughout the state.
The complaint and supporting documentation can be found at gunowners.mn/statefair.
As an arm of state government, the Minnesota State Agricultural Society is completely preempted under multiple state statutes from prohibiting the lawful carry of firearms on the state fairgrounds or during the Minnesota State Fair. Specifically, Minnesota law preempts any local regulation of firearms and ammunition that is inconsistent with state law "to the complete exclusion of any order, ordinance, or regulation".
Ramsey County and the Ramsey County Sheriff, Bob Fletcher, are party to this suit due to the Joint Powers Agreement signed between the Society and the County authorizing the Sheriff's office to serve as the primary law enforcement agency for the State Fair.
For years, the Society has purported to prohibit firearms at the State Fair through policies and signing without any legal authorization for their supposed prohibition. The State Agricultural Society does have the ability to enact ordinances, however, those ordinances cannot validly conflict with state or federal law. According to Data Practices Act requests from the Caucus, the Society has not enacted any such ordinances - and if they had, they would be invalid on their face because of Minnesota's preemption statutes.
"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. "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. Their policy is not only illegal, but it's also unnecessary."
The Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus case was filed today in the Second Judicial District against defendants the Minnesota State Agricultural Society, Ramsey County, and Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher. The Caucus seeks an injunction prohibiting the defendants and their agents from enforcing a prohibition on the lawful, permitted carry of firearms at the Minnesota State Fair, an order requiring compliance with the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act, and appropriate civil penalties and attorney's fees.