Group sues for right to carry guns at Minnesota State Fair

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

The lawsuit by the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus argues that the State Fair’s ban on weapons violates the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

In the lawsuit, obtained by 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, one plaintiff states he "believes it’s important to have a way to protect himself, including at the State Fair." Another plaintiff echoed that sentiment, stating she "wishes to carry at the State Fair for the purpose of self-defense, and would not pose any threat or danger to the public."

The lawsuit asks the court to order that Minnesotans who have valid carry permits be allowed to carry pistols at the fair. And it asks that the sheriff’s office, which will provide law enforcement at this year’s fair, be prohibited from enforcing the ban. An attorney representing the State Agricultural Society also stated in the lawsuit, "to ensure safety of the fair, the policy prohibiting weapons on the fairgrounds during the fair must be maintained."

In response, the Minnesota State Fair issued the following statement: "The State Fair 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."

Additionally, the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office issued a statement about the lawsuit:

The Minnesota State Agricultural Society, who operates the Minnesota State Fair, sets its own policies regarding admission to the State Fair. These practices have been consistent over many years. The Agricultural Society has contracts with private security firms and the Minnesota State Patrol to ensure safe and secure access to the Minnesota State Fair at its 11 public gates.

The Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office has law enforcement responsibility inside the State Fairgrounds once attendees have entered one of the public gates. Any questions regarding gate admission policies should be directed to Minnesota State Agricultural Society.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.