The Minnesota State Fair is set to kick off later this week, and the Great Minnesota Get-Together is a topic we’ve discussed on the blog in the past. Recently, the gathering has been making news over a legal battle to allow patrons with conceal carry licenses to bring those firearms into the fair. In today’s blog, we take a look at the lawsuit and discuss whether or not concealed carry license holders will be able to bring their firearm to the fair.
Conceal Carry And The Minnesota State Fair
Private businesses are allowed to set regulations about whether or not firearms are allowed on the premises, but certain public places do not have that same ability. For example, law abiding citizens can legally carry their firearm into the state capital building or in other public locations. According to the lawsuit, the petitioners believe that the Minnesota State Fair should be viewed as a public place as opposed to private property.
The Minnesota State Fair is run by the quasi-independent Minnesota State Agricultural Society, and the lawsuit argues that they are governed by the same state laws that allow concealed carry permit holders to bring their firearms to public locations. And while the society does get its authority from the state statutes, neither the society or the Minnesota State Fair receives public funding, meaning it may have a stronger argument that they should be able to act more as a private business as compared to a public property.
Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office Gets Involved
The Minnesota State Fair has contracted the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office to provide security and law enforcement at the fair, but the Sheriff’s Office put out a statement saying that their jurisdiction begins once people are inside the facilities, not as part of fair entrance regulations. Fair officials, not the Sheriff’s Office, are responsible for providing bag checks and metal detector screenings, so they will be the ones enforcing the current standard, which is that firearms are not permitted inside the fair.
The lawsuit asks that the firearm ban be lifted, and that the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office be prohibited from enforcing the ban. As it stands, it’s uncertain if a ruling will be made prior to the beginning of the fair on Thursday. We can’t say for certain how the case will play out, but given the short time constraints and the fact that the agency and the fair do not receive public funding suggests that the plaintiffs are going to have a tough time getting the ban lifted, at least in time for this year’s fair. It’s possible that this idea could be litigated and won in the future, but it seems unlikely that the restriction will be removed completely by the end of the week.
If you run into any trouble at the Minnesota State Fair, or you need an attorney because of an unrelated incident, reach out to Avery and the team at Appelman Law Firm today.