Scott Herndon has defended the 2nd Amendment.
For decades a music festival has occurred annually in the city of Sandpoint. The concerts are held on public property in a city owned park. In 2019, the Festival at Sandpoint banned firearm carry as a condition of entry and implemented body scan wands and a search of concertgoers’ possessions in order to screen out lawfully carried firearms.
Idaho has what are known as firearm preemption laws that should prevent the local ban of firearms from happening. Here is a little legislative history: A decade ago Idaho lawmakers repealed a statute regarding the carry of firearms at music concerts since the intention of the legislature was that concerts are a legitimate venue for personal firearm carry. The mass shooting at a public park at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in 2019 and the 2017 massacre at the Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas show us that personal protection from homicidal criminals in today’s culture is a legitimate concern. The old adage for personal firearm carry is that when seconds count, law enforcement is just minutes away.
Idaho has in place state laws known as firearm preemption. The basic concept of preemption law is that the Idaho state legislature is the only body able to make laws regulating firearm carry throughout the state, and no city or other level of government may govern the carry of firearms. The purpose of preemption is so that we don’t end up with a patchwork of firearm carry laws that are different from city to city and county to county. Such patchwork of laws would make it very difficult for citizens to know the law regarding firearm carry as they travel throughout the state.
Idaho has passed “constitutional carry” legislation which allows the concealed carry of personal firearms without government permits. In Idaho law, there are only a few locations where carrying a firearm is prohibited – schools, courthouses and jails.
The Festival at Sandpoint annual music festival is an event open to the public and held at a publicly owned city park. The private group that administers the festival is using a special event permit to host the festival on city-owned property. But the city and the private group have made the legal claim that during the two week period of the festival the special event permit amounts to a lease, and the city owned property converts to private property during that two week period.
Of course, this scheme becomes a big loophole through which cities can circumvent the Idaho legislature’s will and its firearm preemption laws. This is a concern around Idaho as the city of Boise has implemented this same scheme on Boise city streets and sidewalks during short-term special events in that city.
Therefore, the Idaho Second Amendment Alliance (ISAA), a non-profit group that represents the rights of lawful gun owners, began tracking this problem in 2019. Scott Herndon, as a member of ISAA and a lifetime member of the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) went to the Festival at Sandpoint in 2019 specifically to test whether the firearm ban would be enforced. This was after both he and the ISAA contacted the city and the Festival at Sandpoint to strongly suggest that the firearm ban was in conflict with firearm preemption laws.
But, the Festival enforced its ban, and the city of Sandpoint provided support for the ban. Therefore, it became necessary for Herndon and the ISAA and SAF to file suit in the Idaho District Court. After an adverse decision at the district court level, Herndon, ISAA and SAF have an active appeal currently before the Idaho Supreme Court. The lawsuit to this point has not cost the taxpayers a single dime since ISAA and SAF are bearing the costs of the suit.
The 2nd amendment supports the right of citizens to lawfully keep and bear arms without infringement by their government. The Idaho Constitution is equally strong on the right of Idahoans to lawfully carry firearms. The lawsuit is exactly what the judicial system is designed for – to test whether a violation of Idaho law has occurred by the Festival and the city and to provide a remedy.
Republican Scott Herndon cares about the constitution and the rule of law, which is why he got involved in this situation and this suit. Benjamin Franklin said we have a Republic “if we can keep it”. As he has in the past, Scott Herndon will work tirelessly to keep the republic.