Gun Ban at Festival in Sandpoint
Second Amendment – A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Idaho allows for Constitutional Carry on public property. War Memorial Field in Sandpoint is leased to the Festival at Sandpoint by the City each year for their annual music festival.
The posted notice was questioned through a series of emails the previous week. Some of those emails are included below.
Scott Herndon tells us the following:
Last week, Mr. Herrington issued the following email to ISAA president Greg Pruett regarding the Festival’s gun ban at Memorial Field:
Dear Mr. Pruett,
Thank you for your email to City Officials regarding the Festival at Sandpoint and the right to bear arms.
War Memorial Field in Sandpoint is leased by the City of Sandpoint to the Festival at Sandpoint, which is a non-profit corporation, for the two week concert series.
It is our view that the Festival at Sandpoint, as a lessee, may limit use of the premises in any manner in which they believe necessary, so long as the limitations in the lease are complied with.
There is no violation of the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution or any Idaho Statute by the City because the City has taken no action to regulate firearms.
I have only had time to perform a limited amount of research, but have found not Idaho cases adverse to our views. My research is ongoing.
If you have some authority regarding the use of leased premises that you can cite for me, I would be glad to review it to see if it might be applicable to our circumstances.
Sandpoint City Attorney
After I attempted to persuade Mr. Herrington this week that the law allows the carry of firearms at Memorial Field during the Festival, he sent this yesterday:
Dear Mr. Herndon,
Thank you for your email.
Unfortunately, you have provided no legal authority for your position.
Please advise as to which night are you planning to attend.
Please go to the front gate on the North side of Memorial Field to seek entrance.
Please show your weapon to security.
Thank you for your cooperation.
Sandpoint City Attorney
But, Mr. Herrington’s position is simply not the law on the question of guns at the Festival. For example, I am not anywhere in law required to show “security” my weapon at the North gate of Memorial Field when entering the Festival. Here is the actual law on the question at hand, and I hope that the city of Sandpoint and the Festival will not unlawfully interfere with the lawful carry of firearms at the Festival this weekend. Or, I would hope the city or the Festival can produce a law showing their right to enforce a gun ban on public property.
1) Memorial Field is a public park owned by the City of Sandpoint and listed on the city’s website as a public park. Upon buying tickets to the Festival, we are informed that the ticket price includes sales tax and “city parks fee”.
3) Section 1, Article I of the Idaho Constitution guarantees an unalienable right to Secure Safety. Going to public events these days is not guaranteed to be safe, but there are tools the citizens may carry to attempt to secure safety.
4) Section 11, Article I of the Idaho Constitution guarantees that “the people have the right to keep and bear arms, which right shall not be abridged”.
5) Section 18-3302J(1) and (2), Idaho Code, declare:
(1) The legislature finds that uniform laws regulating firearms are necessary to protect the individual citizen’s right to bear arms guaranteed by amendment 2 of the United States Constitution and section 11, article I of the constitution of the state of Idaho. It is the legislature’s intent to wholly occupy the field of firearms regulation within this state.
(2) Except as expressly authorized by state statute, no county, city, agency, board or any other political subdivision of this state may adopt or enforce any law, rule, regulation, or ordinance which regulates in any manner the sale, acquisition, transfer, ownership, possession, transportation, carrying or storage of firearms or any element relating to firearms and components thereof, including ammunition.
6) Section 18-3302C, Idaho Code, declares the only prohibited carry of firearms is in courthouses, school grounds, juvenile detention facilities and jails.
7) Section 18-3302D (1)(b) and (1)(d) extends a prohibition of carry to school activities at any location (not just school property).
8) Idaho Code prohibitions are location specific and generally not activity focused.
9) Mr. Herrington claims the fact that the Festival is a lessee operating an event at a particular public park gives them control over that location in regards to firearms. If that were true, then any political subdivision could abort the right to bear arms by leasing any public property during events or at all times.
10) In a previous demand in 2014 that I made to the city regarding Farmin Park and the right to free speech while that property was leased to the farmer’s market, we cited multiple case law showing that the right to free speech was attached to the property status in question and not to how that property was used (see attachments page 2 and page 3 of Kellum demand letter).
11) If the Festival wants to ban guns, it can simply hold its event on private property. But, by choosing public property, it would be unlawful to enforce a gun ban.
12) The fact that the event has paid admission does not alter the law. Recently, Canyon County and Ada County have been in the news on this very issue. Both involve ticketed events on public property. https://www.idahostatesman.com/…/idaho/article233343182.html and https://www.newsbreakapp.com/v/0MXK1gDS?s=a4&pd=01C6suHo
13) I have made no contract with the Festival to forsake my right to bear arms, nor would such a contract be lawful on public property.
14) Mr. Herrington has presented no law that supports his theory that the Festival can ban guns on public property.
15) If the city or the Festival want to enforce a gun ban at the Festival on public property, they can seek the lawful right to do so by engaging in the legislative process and attempting to convince the legislature and the governor of the idea.
In conclusion, it is my expectation that when we go to the Festival bearing firearms that neither the Festival nor the city will interfere with our lawful right to carry, UNLESS the city or the Festival can produce the law that gives the right to enforce a gun ban. The 4th amendment right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure would also suggest that unless there is probable cause that we have committed a crime, which law the City would need to cite, it should not be necessary for us to reveal our carry status if we choose concealed carry, since, obviously, that is the whole point of concealed carry.
We look forward to the City’s and the Festival’s cooperation with the citizens’ exercise of our lawful rights, OR we look forward to the city producing the substantial law that allows a gun ban.
Two citizens of Idaho attempted to enter the Festival at Sandpoint on Friday, August 9, 2019. Mr. Herndon was carrying a firearm concealed on his person. Mr. Avery was carrying a weapon openly. They were denied entrance based solely on their possession of firearms.
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