Idaho Supreme Court Gun Case is Monumental

On February 8th, the Idaho Second Amendment Alliance, Second Amendment Foundation, and the two clients we represent, State Sen. Scott Herndon (R-Sandpoint) and Jeff Avery, argued our case before the Idaho Supreme Court.

The case is against the city of Sandpoint as well as the Festival at Sandpoint for what we believe are clear violations of the Idaho preemption law, the Idaho State Constitution, and the U.S. Constitution’s 2nd Amendment.

We are still waiting to hear from the Idaho Supreme Court for their opinion on the case, but one thing’s for sure, this is going to be a monumental decision that impacts all of us.

Before I get to what the case is about and the stakes at play, if you haven’t seen the latest episode of the Freedom Bros’ podcast with myself and Dustin Hurst, be sure to check that out here. (Story continues below.)

So, what’s this gun case all about?

Back in 2019, not long after the Garlic Festival shooting in California, a non-profit organization called The Festival at Sandpoint was holding it’s annual event at the War Memorial Field park in Sandpoint.

The park is public. The Festival decided that they would change their security protocols and not allow firearms in the venue. Interestingly, you could bring an entire cooler of food and drinks into the park and they wouldn’t bother going through it all to see if you had a firearm. Some security.

The decision to ban firearms from the venue was challenged by Herndon and Avery on a video in which they purchased tickets for the event, and then tried to enter while open carrying.

Sandpoint police were at the event, and from the video Herndon had shot at the time, it was evident that had he tried to enter the premises, he was going to be arrested.

After the incident, Herndon and Avery filed a lawsuit with the ISAA and SAF in tow and the case now rests with the Idaho Supreme Court. Alexandria Kincaid represented the Idaho Second Amendment Alliance and Don Kilmer, who did the oral argument at the ISC, represented the Second Amendment Foundation.

Gun owners argued that the city of Sandpoint isn’t allowed to regulate firearms on public property under Idaho’s firearm preemption statute (18-3302J.) If the city doesn’t have the power themselves to regulate firearms on public property, how can they give that power to a private entity?

The city argued that because they leased the park (which we don’t believe they even did properly) to the Festival, the park essentially became private property. 

Why is this case such a big deal to Idahoans and really the rest of the country?

First, the case obviously only impacts Idaho directly, however, the opinions from the justices are likely going to be used in similar cases in other states. If the justices come down on the right side of this case, it bodes well for gun owners. If they come down on the wrong side of this case, then gun owners everywhere have to prepare their states for additional fights in the court system and in their state capitols.

For Idahoans, if the justices come down on the wrong side, it immediately opens the door wide open for liberal elites to further undermine Idaho law.

What would stop communist Mayor Lauren McLean from having a private organization run Boise’s park system and then that private organization banning firearms in all the parks? What would stop Boise from figuring out new ways to ban firearms in public places based on the Idaho Supreme Court’s decision if it goes in the wrong direction?

Nothing would stop them, and that’s the scary thing.

Sure, we would have to fight at the capitol to make changes the following session, but our lawmakers are really slow at leading on gun issues. They prefer to do as little as possible over as long a period of time before doing anything. 

That’s why we hope the justices will do the right thing and uphold Idaho law.

One of the reasons we wanted to see this case through to the end was to shed some light on just who our Supreme Court justices were.

Are the justices going to give an anti-2nd Amendment opinion? Are they going to side with gun owners? 

Depending on their answer, it could get a lot more Idahoans involved in the next Idaho Supreme Court justice election, which most Idahoans probably don’t pay much attention to.

One of the ways in which red states have fallen is a lack of attention to their courts, especially the higher courts.

The Sandpoint case is massive for many reasons, and we are anxiously awaiting a response from the courts. In fact, I am told the average time is about 90 days, and we are several weeks past that already.

Stay informed on this case by following the Idaho Second Amendment Alliance at idahosaa.org and be sure to join if you haven’t already!

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