In many places, it seems as though the sheriff is beholden to local officials. Despite being elected himself, he kind of is. After all, he doesn’t typically raise his own revenues, so he depends on the county for the bulk of his budget. That means they have some degree of control over what a sheriff can and can’t do.
However, that generally only applies at a county level.
Still, sheriffs often don’t want to rock the boat very much, but one in Idaho appears to not mind a little rocking.
Yesterday our legal team filed a Motion for Summary Judgment asking the court to rule that Idaho law clearly provides that the City of Sandpoint cannot ban guns at War Memorial Field during the Festival at Sandpoint by entering into a lease with the Festival.
Idaho law is clear on this point, as it specifically provides that municipalities cannot restrict the possession of firearms on public property in any manner. The ability to create any exception to this general rule of law is a power exclusively limited to the state legislature. The City takes the position that it can create a common law exception to the laws passed by the legislature through a lease agreement, but that position is not consistent with existing Idaho law.
I believe that the law on this point is so clear that the judge should rule in our favor as a matter of law, saving taxpayer money on unnecessary legal fees.
And, honestly, he’s right.
Sheriff Daryl Wheeler is absolutely correct that in a preemption state, communities don’t get to restrict weapons in any manner other than in ways explicitly laid out in state law. That includes banning guns on public property.
Make no mistake, either, that text is there for a damn good reason. If public property wasn’t specifically mentioned, you’d soon have lawmakers in various towns trying to make it illegal to have a gun on a public road or something equally stupid. More likely, though, they’d ban the carry of a firearm in so many places about town that it would become virtually impossible to carry a gun.
Yet communities will continue to try and restrict firearm ownership and/or the carrying of firearms over and over again.
That means those measures need to be fought. It helps when the county sheriff joins in the fight, though. It’s a reminder to the people that just because lawmakers pass something doesn’t make it legal or just.
Wheeler’s stand is important. It’s just as important as those sheriffs who have made their states Second Amendment sanctuaries. They’re not just rolling over and accepting the edicts of lawmakers as if there’s simply no other choice. They’re making a stand and making damn sure that those same lawmakers have to consider a world where sheriffs don’t just roll over because someone told them to.
I, personally, commend Sheriff Wheeler for his efforts. It’s my hope the court agrees with him, which they should. He’s absolutely right about how the city is overstepping and they need to be smacked down.