Judge Lansing Haynes of the First District Judicial Court granted a summary judgment request by the City of Sandpoint and the Festival in Sandpoint on Tuesday evening, dismissing a competing summary judgment request by plaintiffs Scott Herndon, Jeff Avery, Idaho Second Amendment Alliance Inc and the Second Amendment Foundation Inc.
The ruling marks the second lawsuit against the city and the Festival over the Festival’s gun ban.
In the first, between the city and the county, Haynes ruled in favor of the city and found that the sheriff and the county did not have standing to defend the case. The city and county agreed to a joint termination clause in this case, under which the county paid $ 71,206.55 to the town of Sandpoint.
In the ruling, Haynes wrote that the plaintiffs’ claims that the city and the Festival intentionally violated their Second Amendment rights were unwarranted, as Idaho law states that government entities cannot be held responsible for the conduct. private entities.
In addition, he wrote, most constitutionally guaranteed rights are protected from interference by government action. With regard to state action, case law indicates that the question of legality is whether the perpetrator “is vested with the authority of the law of the state”.
“The civil service test is only satisfied if it shows that the function in question is both traditional and exclusively governmental,” Haynes wrote.
The plaintiffs argued that since the city and the Festival had acted closely together with respect to the summer musical series, the Festival’s decision could be considered to be that of the city. However, Haynes wrote, the Festival ensured its own security, with police only available in times of security need to carry out a citizen arrest.
The argument, Haynes wrote, had even less evidence of state action than another similar case where that argument failed.
The complainants further claimed that their right to equal protection had been violated by the decisions of the defendants. However, Haynes wrote, the precedent indicates that alleged Second Amendment violations are best analyzed under the Second Amendment, not the equal protection clause.
In addition to this argument, the plaintiffs made a further claim of conspiracy to deprive the plaintiffs of their right to bear arms by the Festival and the city.
“This claim also fails in law. In order for the plaintiffs to prevail on this assertion, they must show 1) some racial or other class-based animosity and 2) that there was a conspiracy to interfere with rights protected from private and official encroachment ”, Haynes wrote. “The complainants have presented no factual basis or legal authority to argue that they are members of a category of suspects or quasi-suspects requiring special consideration or protection. Further, there is no evidence in this record to support the claimants’ assertion that the defendants intended, as the motivation for their action, to deprive the claimants of any constitutional rights. ”
Finally, the plaintiffs argued that because the city does not have the power to ban guns, it cannot transmit an authority it does not have to the Festival. However, Haynes writes, the plaintiffs misinterpreted the nature of the lease in their argument.
“The city lease does not delegate to the Festival the power to ban firearms; rather, the city simply rents [War Memorial Field] at the Festival for the purpose of running a music festival. The transfer by the city of a leasehold interest gives the Festival exclusive possession of the property, ”Haynes wrote.
Based on case law, this “dispossessed interest” includes the right to control property and the right to exclude others, Haynes wrote.
“It should be noted,” he wrote, “that in the Idaho legislature, by enacting its exclusive authority in the field of gun regulation, specifically considering the constitutional rights of its citizens to bear arms in relation to the rights of landlords and tenants… nothing prevents private tenants, such as the Festival, from exercising their tenant rights to control its rented goods during the term of the lease.
Scott Herndon wrote in an email that he and the other plaintiffs are currently considering all options, including “cumulative remedies.”
“We can appeal this decision while simultaneously filing a new cause of action challenging the validity of the lease,” he wrote. “[E]only one member of our team is committed to upholding the God-given right to protect us and our families, and to resist any erosion of these rights, as codified in the [Second] Amendment and in the Constitution of Idaho.
Herndon said that while the decision was the last word, preemption in Idaho “means nothing.”
“[As] this decision is in writing, any city or county in the state of Idaho could contract with a private party for any public property, public park, public sidewalk, label it as a lease, and that private party may prohibit firearms on this property for the duration of the “lease”.
One example is the farmer’s market held at Farmin Park in Sandpoint, Herndon said.
“During market hours, the contract for the use of the park could be characterized as a lease, and the Farmer’s Market organization could ban the possession of firearms under cover of this decision of the district court,” he said. he adds.
In a city statement, Mayor Shelby Rognstad said the city looked forward to the festival’s return to the fully renovated war memorial grounds this summer.
“We are currently finalizing the permit with the Festival at Sandpoint for this year’s concert series,” he said. “The Festival is an event that our community and visitors look forward to each year and it is an important economic driver for our community. “