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Lawsuit over gun ban at Minnesota State Fair dismissed

U.S. District Court Judge John Tunheim ruled that the State Agricultural Society did not violate plaintiff's rights by not allowing them to carry on the fairgrounds.

FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. — Editor's note: The video above first aired Aug. 11, 2021. 

A U.S. District Court judge says the operating body behind the Minnesota State Fair was within its rights to block guests from carrying guns on the fairgrounds.  

The decision shoots down a lawsuit filed by Reverend Tim Christopher, Sarah Hauptman and The Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus back in August of 2021, accusing the State Agricultural Society (The Society) of violating their rights by enacting a ordinance keeping them from bringing weapons they are permitted to carry through the gates.

In his decision, Judge John Tunheim ruled claims by the plaintiff that The Society's rule is unconstitutional are "procedurally invalid and constitutionally unfounded." The judge also ruled against several other claims detailed in the lawsuit, including that The Society violated state law, deprived the plaintiffs of their federal or statutory rights and engaged in breach of contract. 

Tunheim also dismissed a motion to remand the matter back to the Minnesota Supreme Court. 

The lawsuit was first heard in state court on Aug. 19, 2021, before Judge Laura Nelson. Nelson ruled days later that fair organizers have the power to "license and regulate...privileges on the fairgrounds[.]," and are "further empowered" by state statute to make rules consistent with law it considers necessary for the "protection, health, safety and comfort of the public on the Fairgrounds." 

Judge Nelson also noted that The Society had prohibited firearms inside the fairgrounds since at least 2003, and said filing the lawsuit just days before the 2021 Minnesota State Fair "undercuts their (the plaintiffs) claim of irreparable harm." 

Christopher, Hauptman and the Gun Owners Caucus Gun maintain that the ban on carrying permitted firearms on the fairgrounds violates both Minnesota state law and the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

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