Group sues for right to carry guns at Minnesota State Fair

Published 7:14 pm Tuesday, August 10, 2021

ST. PAUL — A gun owners’ group sued the Minnesota State Fair and Ramsey County on Tuesday, demanding that permit holders be allowed to carry handguns on the fairgrounds during the Great Minnesota Get-Together.

The lawsuit filed by the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus in Ramsey County District Court argues that the State Fair’s ban on weapons violates the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. The plaintiffs also include a preacher and a group member who say they want to carry their guns for self-defense when they visit the fair.

The lawsuit asks the court to order that Minnesotans who have valid carry permits be allowed to carry pistols at the fair, and that the sheriff’s office, which will provide law enforcement at this year’s fair, be prohibited from enforcing the ban.

The State Fair issued a statement saying it does not comment on pending litigation.

“We will maintain our time-honored Minnesota tradition of peaceful, family-friendly fairs by protecting the safety and security of our guests,” the statement said, without elaborating.

Spokespeople for the sheriff’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The lawsuit argues that the State Fair, which is run by the Minnesota State Agricultural Society, is subject to the same state laws that allow permit holders to bring their guns into the State Capitol and other public places. And it says those laws supersede local regulations.

The Minnesota State Fair opens Aug. 26 and runs through Labor Day.