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Senator Scott Herndon, ISAA, et al. and the City of Sandpoint Argue Gun Rights at Idaho Supreme Court (Article Updated)

By • February 6, 2023

The Idaho Supreme Court heard oral arguments in defense of written briefs in the appeal of a Bonner County Court decision regarding the carrying of firearms in a Sandpoint public park.

Plaintiffs Scott Herndon (Senator, R-District 1), Jeff Avery, the Idaho Second Amendment Alliance, and the Second Amendment Foundation, Inc filed suit against the City of Sandpoint and the Festival at Sandpoint for violating the rights of the people to carry firearms on public property – in this case War Memorial Field, a public park maintained and managed by the City of Sandpoint.

Sandpoint argued that the Festival, a private organization, did in fact have the right under Idaho law to prohibit the carrying of firearms in that park during the duration of their lease for the event in August 2019, a two week agreement.

A Bonner County judge ruled in favor of the City of Sandpoint. The case was appealed to the Idaho Supreme Court. Some history of the case can be found here.

The attorney for the Plaintiffs, Don Kilmer, argued that not only did the firearms ban violate the 2nd Amendment of the US Constitution, but it was also in violation of §50-1409 Idaho Code. He said the city did not, and actually in his opinion can not, comply with the Legislative intent of this section because an action cannot be considered ‘fair and equitable’ if it violates Constitutional rights of the people.

50-1409.  LEASES. The mayor and council may, by resolution, authorize the lease of any property not needed for city purposes, upon such terms as may be just and equitable.

The Justices asked several questions, including a discussion of sentence 3 of that statute which states,

“Provided, that the council of a city, upon a vote of one half (1/2) plus one (1) of the members of the full council, may set apart portions of the public parks, playgrounds or other grounds to be used from time to time for athletic contests, golf links, agricultural exhibits, ball parks, fairs, rodeos, swimming pools and other amusements, and for military units of the state of Idaho or the United States, and may, upon a vote of one half (1/2) plus one (1) of the members of the full council, make and enter into proper contracts with organizations and associations necessary and proper to carry out the purposes of this provision.”

Kilmer also argued that because the City does not have the right to regulate the carrying of firearms on public property, it is impossible for them to convey that right to a leaseholder using the property owned by the public.

The attorney for the Respondents, Katharine Brereton, conceded that the City does not in law and fact have the right to regulate firearms, but argued that the ‘private tenant’ described in §18-3302 Idaho Code, in conjunction with the provisions of §18-3302J Idaho Code do give the Festival the authority to ban firearms from their event at War Memorial Field each year.

In attendance in the Supreme Court today were Greg Pruett, President of the Idaho Second Amendment Alliance, Senator Scott Herndon, former Senator Christy Zito, and former Representative Chad Christensen. Christensen posted this photo on his social media.

David with the Idaho Dispatch was also there, and was able to ask Pruett to respond to today’s arguments and discussion. During the first two minutes of the video there was an issue with the picture, but the audio is clear throughout.

ISAA’s Greg Pruett Commenting on 2nd Amendment Case at the Idaho Supreme Court (

The Court will consider the written briefs and oral arguments presented today and will issue a decision in the case at a later date.



In response to the Idaho Dispatch asking for a comment on the case from the City of Sandpoint, Mayor Shelby Rognstad replied on February 8,

“The City of Sandpoint and its police department supports and upholds the Second Amendment.  We do not have a policy banning guns from any City-owned property, including Memorial Field, and we have not turned away any citizens from City-owned facilities for carrying guns.  The City leases Memorial Field to the Festival at Sandpoint, a private non-profit corporation, for its annual concert series.  The Festival has always had a gun ban over its 20-year history and in recent years has implemented additional screening measures as required by the performing artists in their contracts. We look forward to the Idaho Supreme Court’s ruling and affirmation of the lower court’s decision that we have acted lawfully.”

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Tags: 2A, Bonner County, Chad Christensen, Christy Zito, City of Sandpoint, Festival at Sandpoint, Firearms, Greg Pruett, Guns, Idaho Supreme Court, ISAA, Scott Herndon

9 thoughts on “Senator Scott Herndon, ISAA, et al. and the City of Sandpoint Argue Gun Rights at Idaho Supreme Court (Article Updated)

  1. This is not a State issue at all.
    This is a 2nd Amendment issue, a Bill of Rights issue.
    …..”Shall not be infringed”.

    Idaho must be more diligent in future selections to it’s Supreme Court, in order that an lawsuit like this would never see the light of day.

    1. Our citizens need to be more diligent in who we elect as representatives also. It is our responsibility to elect representatives who objectively craft and pass legislation based on facts, in accordance to the US and Idaho state Constitutions, moral law and with full understanding of the consequences of each potential law on all populations of Idahoans. Idahoan need to thoroughly interview candidates before they hire them.

    2. A noted in the article, it is both a state and U.S.A. citizens rights issue, via language in the body of Idaho’s Constitution and the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

  2. The concerning point here is this, the flawed logic by individuals on the city council making a gun free zone with defenseless victims inside. Declaring that no one can bring a gun into a zone will not prevent a criminal intent on harm from doing so, unless the facility is a secured building and metal detectors are used on each person that enters. I’m not sure this is possible at an outdoor event held in a park, then what happens is the managers of the event only disarm the law abiding and not the lurking criminals.

  3. The really big question
    If this is considered a gun free zone by the leasing tenant and the city of Sandpoint if or when something was to happen who has all of the liability in the matter.
    If you are to strip our rights to protect ourselves then are you assuming the liability of protecting us, lease, city, county, state, and federal govement.

  4. Texas protects the rights of citizens to bear arms by not allowing leasers to ban the right to carry arms in public property.

    We need to do said in Idaho.


    1. Exactly. If “the artists” have banning guns at their events as their deal breaker, then The Festival needs to look for other artists. I hope the Idaho Supreme Court will stand firm on this one.

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