Bonner County Stands For Your Gun Rights … Again!
By Shari Dovale
Bonner County Commissioner Steve Bradshaw received numerous phone calls and complaints concerning the Festival at Sandpoint this summer. He was told that the City of Sandpoint had allowed the organizers of the Festival to deny citizens entrance to the grounds at War Memorial Field based solely on their carrying of firearms, either openly or concealed.
Gun rights is a subject that greatly concerns Bradshaw, as was shown when he had recently led the way for a resolution reinforcing the people’s right to keep and bear arms in Bonner County.
He called the county attorneys at the Davillier Law Group and asked them to research the issue. It was found that not only is the City of Sandpoint violating constitutional rights but statutory rights as well.
That is when the county attorney, D. Colton Boyles, brought a draft to him, and they presented the draft to the remaining commissioners. It was agreed by all that the letter should be presented to the City of Sandpoint, with hopes that they would understand and agree to abide by the current laws.
“We were doing it to give the city an opportunity to respond and come into compliance and not have to go to any litigation,” Bradshaw said during a phone interview. “That was the purpose.”
It is also concerning for the individual Sandpoint police officers that attempt to enforce unlawful rules. “This could potentially expose them to a personal lawsuit if they were to arrest you for having a concealed weapon and you could rightfully carry one,” Bradshaw explained. “The officer does not have qualified immunity in this situation.”
Upon learning of the County Commissioner’s letter to the City, the Bonner County Sheriff, Daryl Wheeler, weighed in immediately. Wheeler also has a history of defending the resident’s rights to keep and bear arms.
The Sheriff not only stated his agreement to Boyles letter, he asked to join any litigation that the Bonner County Commissioners pursue on this issue with the City.
“As the chief law enforcement officer of Bonner County, it is my duty to protect our established constitutional and statutory rights.” the Sheriff writes. “If the City of Sandpoint is unwilling to reverse its gun ban at War Memorial Field Park and the Bonner County Board of Commissioner’s proceeds with litigation, I, as the elected Bonner County Sheriff, would request to be added as a plaintiff participant.”
The City has been asked to respond to the Commissioners letter by Monday, August 26th. If they do not, the Commissioners expect to discuss the next steps on Tuesday following.
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