The city of Sandpoint and the Festival at Sandpoint has been in a lawsuit for over a year and a half.
Several plaintiffs, including the Second Amendment Foundation and Idaho Second Amendment Alliance, argued that the ban by the festival on public property was a violation of Idaho law. The city argued that the festival was leased the property, and therefore it was not their decision to ban firearms at the event.
Judge Lansing Haynes ruled in favor of the city of Sandpoint at the Festival at Sandpoint and denied summary judgment for the plaintiffs.
In 2019, plaintiff Scott Herndon and Jeff Avery attempted to enter the festival in Sandpoint at a public park that was leased to the non-profit, Festival at Sandpoint. They were denied entry because they were carrying firearms. Herndon and Avery filed a lawsuit claiming the city and Festival violated Idaho’s preemption law and their right to carry a firearm.
Haynes disagreed with the plaintiff’s case. The judge said in part of his opinion:
Plaintiffs misconstrue the nature of the City’s lease of WAR to the Festival. The City’s lease does not delegate firearm banning authority to the Festival; rather, the City simply leases WAR to the Festival for the purpose of conducting a music festival.
On the city of Sandpoint Facebook page, the following post was made:
Judge Lansing Haynes of the First Judicial District Court, Bonner County, Idaho, has issued his written decision in the second lawsuit brought against the City of Sandpoint and The Festival at Sandpoint, regarding the Festival’s ban on firearms possession at its 2019 Festival. The Court found in favor of the City and the Festival on all six of the claims made by the Plaintiffs.
The Festival at Sandpoint has not currently issued a statement on the ruling. Idaho Dispatch did email the Festival for a statement but have not received one at the time of this writing.
The Idaho Second Amendment Alliance attorney, Alexandria Kincaid, issued the following statement to Idaho Dispatch:
We’re considering all options, including cumulative remedies. We may appeal this decision while simultaneously filing a new cause of action challenging the validity of the lease. We are committed to continuing to challenge the erosion of the Second Amendment, especially if it is happening right here in Idaho.
ISAA Chairman Seth Rosquist also issued the following statement:
Only an activist judge could have come up with the ruling that Judge Haynes did. The judge’s decision flies in the face of logic.
We intend to pursue all of our options. We are likely going to appeal this to the Idaho Supreme Court. If a city can simply “lease” public property to whomever they want, they will use this ruling as a means to enact gun control throughout Idaho.
The judge essentially claimed that the city had no part in the enforcement of the Festival’s ban. However, a city of Sandpoint police officer was on site and ready to arrest one of our members if they decided to enter the Festival after they had already purchased tickets for the event.
Idaho Dispatch also spoke to Herndon, who issued the following statement to us:
Jeff Avery and I are committed to partner with the Idaho Second Amendment Alliance and Second Amendment Foundation to preserve our God-given right to defend ourselves and our families and uphold the rights of the 2nd Amendment and the Idaho Constitution. So, we are committed to endeavoring in this lawsuit, or another judicial remedy necessary to protect individual freedom.
We are going to explore every judicial remedy available to us, and as to this particular decision, it looks to me that the judge took the easy way out and didn’t consider our legal arguments. On an appeal, I look to the actual merits of the law being considered and I am hopeful that the Idaho Supreme Court would give a serious review of our case.
The Festival at Sandpoint is planning its annual event this year, which will take place from July 29th to August 8th.
Tags: Alexandria Kincaid, Festival at Sandpoint, Idaho Second Amendment Alliance, Jeff Avery, Lansing Haynes, Sandpoint, Scott Herndon, Second Amendment Foundation, Seth Rosquist