BoCo seeks ‘clarity on the law’ in gun suit appeal

County attorney maintains that ‘protests of the gun ban are anticipated’ at next Festival

By Lyndsie Kiebert
Reader Staff

Bonner County plans to continue its legal battle against the city of Sandpoint over The Festival at Sandpoint’s policy to ban guns with an appeal to the Idaho Supreme Court — a course of action unchanged even after a district judge announced last week that the county would need to repay Sandpoint $70,000 in costs and fees accrued during the more-than-yearlong lawsuit.

Attorney Amy Clemmons of Davillier Law Group, which represents Bonner County in the case, said an appeal is necessary to encourage the courts to make a ruling on “whether the city can legally allow a lessee to ban firearms at a public park.”

“Absent a court decision on this issue, protests of the gun ban are anticipated,” Clemmons told the Sandpoint Reader in an email Dec. 16.

Fear of an impending protest at The Festival gates was a major theme in the county’s legal arguments throughout the case, alleging that without action from the court, pro-gun activists could bring protests to the concert venue at War Memorial Field and violence might ensue. Kootenai County District Court Judge Lansing L. Haynes ruled Sept. 2 that Bonner County’s arguments were “at best, vague and speculative” and that the county lacked standing in the case. Haynes also ruled in favor of Sandpoint on Dec. 9, when he partially granted the city’s request for costs and fees.

Clemmons said Haynes’ ruling wouldn’t change the county’s complaint moving forward with the appeal to the Idaho Supreme Court.

“The court’s decision on standing prevented a ruling on the underlying merits of this matter leaving both parties with uncertainty on the lawful manner for The Festival to proceed,” she told the Reader. “For events to go forward peacefully without a protest, clarity on the law is desired and is being sought in the appeal process.”

There are currently no court dates set in the appeal of the case.

While we have you ...

... if you appreciate that access to the news, opinion, humor, entertainment and cultural reporting in the Sandpoint Reader is freely available in our print newspaper as well as here on our website, we have a favor to ask. The Reader is locally owned and free of the large corporate, big-money influence that affects so much of the media today. We're supported entirely by our valued advertisers and readers. We're committed to continued free access to our paper and our website here with NO PAYWALL - period. But of course, it does cost money to produce the Reader. If you're a reader who appreciates the value of an independent, local news source, we hope you'll consider a voluntary contribution. You can help support the Reader for as little as $1.

You can contribute at either Paypal or Patreon.

Contribute at Patreon Contribute at Paypal

You may also like...

Close [x]

Want to support independent local journalism?

The Sandpoint Reader is our town's local, independent weekly newspaper. "Independent" means that the Reader is locally owned, in a partnership between Publisher Ben Olson and Keokee Co. Publishing, the media company owned by Chris Bessler that also publishes Sandpoint Magazine and Sandpoint Online. Sandpoint Reader LLC is a completely independent business unit; no big newspaper group or corporate conglomerate or billionaire owner dictates our editorial policy. And we want the news, opinion and lifestyle stories we report to be freely available to all interested readers - so unlike many other newspapers and media websites, we have NO PAYWALL on our website. The Reader relies wholly on the support of our valued advertisers, as well as readers who voluntarily contribute. Want to ensure that local, independent journalism survives in our town? You can help support the Reader for as little as $1.