Gun-free zones have been called “criminal empowerment zones” by more than a few pro-gun folks. What we all understand is that things like concealed carry allow people to protect themselves and others without a lot of undue attention. Gun-free zones basically take that idea and pretend that a sign can keep criminals disarmed so no one needs such a thing.
Unfortunately, the judge in the Minnesota State Fair case seems to think that’s good enough.
A Minnesota judge will not immediately force the Minnesota State Fair to let permitted gun owners carry firearms inside the fairgrounds, noting that a lawsuit challenging the ban is unlikely to prevail but can proceed.
In a ruling issued on Wednesday, Minnesota District Court Judge Laura Nelson denied a motion for a temporary injunction filed by a pair of gun activists and the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus, allowing the gun ban to stay in place as the case is argued.
“We’re disappointed in the outcome, but we also knew that getting a temporary injunction on a case like this is a real high burden to overcome,” said Bryan Strawser, co-founder and chairman of the Gun Owners Caucus. “But we’re confident we’re going to prevail in the end.”
Rev. Tim Christopher, a Black Twin Cities pastor, and Sarah Cade Hauptman, a longtime gun rights activist, filed a lawsuit earlier this month against the State Agricultural Society, which runs the fair, along with Ramsey County and the Ramsey County Sheriff’s office, which was contracted to manage law enforcement.
They argued the Agricultural Society doesn’t have the authority to ban guns because the Second Amendment and state law supersedes local rules. The fairgrounds are on state property, and the Minnesota State Agriculture Society is a special entity defined in state statute.
In fairness to the judge, I can kind of see why he didn’t issue the injunction. As Strawser said, it was a high burden to overcome, possibly too high to be overcome.
However, this is only for the injunction. Now the lawsuit will proceed, and that’s where the rubber really does meet the road.
See, the lawsuit will have far-reaching ramifications, not necessarily limited to the state fair. It could have an impact on other events and state agencies. That’s what ultimately matters.
Not that the injunction wouldn’t have been beneficial. As the above-linked story notes, there has been violence near the state fair, including shootings in the parking lot of the fair itself. That’s why Christopher and Hauptman filed their suit. They felt they need their guns to be safe at the fair.
And they probably do.
While the fair will have metal detectors as you enter the grounds themselves, there’s nothing that will keep dangerous people from lurking outside and waiting. Innocent people may be injured or killed just because they couldn’t take their guns inside the fair. See, the problem isn’t just the fair itself, but that people are disarmed going to and from the fair, even if only in the parking lot. They’re vulnerable.
Let’s hope the lawsuit itself puts an end to this nonsense.