The Minnesota State Fair isn’t the Second Amendment battleground any of us expected when 2021 kicked off. Not by a longshot. Yet it’s turned into that.
The fair decided to ban the carry of firearms during its event. They had to know this would ignite a firestorm. Anytime you push a gun ban, be it nationwide or just at an event, it’s going to.
As it should.
Now, the case has gone to court. The judge promises, though, he’ll deliver a quick verdict.
A judge on Thursday promised a quick ruling on whether people with permits to carry firearms can bring their guns into the Minnesota State Fair, which opens in one week.
The Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus asked Judge Laura Nelson to issue a temporary injunction prohibiting the fair and the Ramsey County Sherriff’s Office from enforcing the fair’s ban on bringing dangerous weapons onto the fairgrounds. Nelson said at the end of a hearing that she would rule as soon as possible, but definitely before the fair begins next Thursday.
Attorney Scott Flaherty, who represents the gun owners, argued that the ban violates Minnesota statutes governing carry permits and the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. He said the question isn’t whether allowing guns onto the fairgrounds is good public policy, it’s whether the ban is legal.
“We’re seeking nothing more and nothing less than an order requiring defendants to comply with state statutes. That’s it,” Flaherty said.
But attorney Leah Janus, who represents the fair’s governing body, the State Agricultural Society, argued that fair officials have the authority under state law to impose rules they deem necessary to protect the “health, safety and comfort” of visitors. She also argued that a 2017 Court of Appeals decision that affirmed the Metropolitan Airports Commission’s ban on guns at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport set a precedent that directly applies to the fair.
I have no idea which way the ruling is going to go, but I obviously hope it goes in Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus’ way.
Look, taking all that other stuff out of the discussion, the fact of the matter is that even if you can guarantee perfect safety for every man, woman, and child at the Minnesota State Fair, you can’t guarantee it for them after. In other words, they have to leave the fair at some point. When they do, they’re vulnerable.
And that’s if you assume perfect safety at the fair itself, which they can’t actually guarantee.
So, with that in mind, the Minnesota State Fair needs to knock this nonsense off and recognize that people who have permits are among the most law-abiding people on the planet. They don’t represent a threat to anyone or anything, at the state fair or anywhere else, that doesn’t threaten them first.
The most depressing thing about this is that this had to go to court. It should be a no-brainer that a state fair shouldn’t have a restriction on firearms, yet here we are. Here’s hoping the judge’s ruling contains some good sense.