Bonner County Sues City of Sandpoint Over Festival Gun Ban
The lawsuit, which was filed in Bonner County district court last week, cites Idaho law which prohibits cities from restricting gun possession on public property.
SANDPOINT, Idaho — The city of Sandpoint is being sued by Bonner County and the county’s sheriff over a Festival at Sandpoint policy banning firearms at the popular concert series.The lawsuit, which was filed in Bonner County district court last week, cites Idaho law which prohibits cities and municipalities from restricting gun possession on public property.The annual Festival at Sandpoint event traditionally takes place at War Memorial Field, which is owned by the city. In response to the lawsuit, city leaders maintain that they lease the lakeside property to festival organizers and don’t impose a ban of their own.
Although festival organizers have traditionally not allowed guns into War Memorial Field, both city officials and Bonner County Sheriff Daryl Wheeler say the matter gained attention this year after festival organizers began increasing security measures at the event and notifying attendees of the policy.
Scott Herndon, a Sagle resident and concealed carry advocate, decided to test the ban after hearing that festival organizers wouldn’t allow in firearms. Herndon and a friend had purchased a ticket for an Avett Brothers performance at War Memorial Field in August.
“I was disappointed because I actually very much care about law. And this is a public park, and we did want to see the concert,” said Herndon.
Herndon says security officials denied him entry and asked him to either leave his gun in his car or receive a refund for his ticket. Herndon’s experience is referenced in the county’s lawsuit.
“We’re just going about our lawful business and want to attend a concert just like anybody else who’s not carrying a firearm,” he said.
Bonner County Sheriff Daryl Wheeler eventually became aware of Herndon’s situation and started to consult with the county prosecutor about what legal remedies were available.
“You have a right in Idaho to be able to protect yourself and protect your family,” said [Sheriff] Wheeler, citing an oath he took when entering office to uphold Idaho’s constitution. “It’s not that I’m taking sides on the festival or the county or the people. I’m standing up for the rule of law and what the constitution says.”
Featured photo: Constitutional Sheriff, Daryl Wheeler
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