By Zach Hagadone
Amid an early-season blast of winter weather Sept. 28, attendees at the Sandpoint stop of the Idaho Second Amendment Alliance “Freedom Tour” gathered inside the Eagle’s Lodge off Baldy Mountain Road to hear ISAA President Greg Pruett speak on the political forces that he said are “stabbing you in the back on gun rights.”
One of 11 stops around the state, the Sandpoint installment of the tour had the added significance of taking place as the city faces a lawsuit filed late last month by Bonner County over the Festival at Sandpoint’s firearms prohibition.
The county alleges the city has no right under Idaho law to bar firearms from public property, thus it can’t transfer that right to the Festival, which leases the city-owned War Memorial Field for two weeks each August.
Pruett has repeatedly made the same argument, including earlier in September when he announced that Boise-based ISAA was also working up to file suit over the Festival gun ban.
That’s on hold for now, as ISAA is waiting to see how the county’s suit is resolved.
In an exchange of emails with the Sandpoint Reader in the days following the Sandpoint event, Pruett wrote that ISAA had planned legal action before knowing how the county intended to proceed with the issue. In the meantime, the organization raised more than $10,000 to retain a lawyer.
“Once the county filed suit (we had already raised the money) we waited to see what their suit would look like,” Pruett wrote, adding that ISAA is working with the national gun rights group Second Amendment Foundation.
“After the county filed suit our lawyers and the lawyers with the SAF looked it over extensively and informed us that the county has an excellent suit filed,” he wrote. “The attorneys for both organizations felt it was best at this point to help the county via an amicus brief and other efforts.”
ISAA is now using some of the money it raised to pay its lawyers to draft a pair of letters to the Festival and the city.
“If the county capitulates to the city or if the county suit fails, then ISAA/SAF will file in Federal Court,” Pruett told the Reader, later adding, “the Federal Court has different implications and different avenues that we can use over a state court.”
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