Can permit holders carry at the MN State Fair?

Used under Fair Use Copyright. Photo from MN State Fair web site photo gallery.

Kare 11 T.V. in the Twin Cities had an interesting investigative report on whether the State Fair can post gun banning signs and enforce them by keeping persons who have a permit to carry a pistol from entering the fair.

What follows is my take on the signage and enforcement of the signs at the 2017 Fair. By no means is this the definitive answer to the question as it is still unclear if a “quasi” government agency is allowed to legally post and ban permit holders from the grounds of the Fair.

Two years ago, a self-proclaimed quasi government agency (see the Minnesota State Fair Web Site), called the Minnesota State Agricultural Society incorporated for the purpose of promoting livestock, and agriculture at the State Fair. On their web site they state: “The Minnesota State Fair is a quasi-state agency that is completely self-supporting. The fair has not received any public money or government appropriations of any kind since 1949. “

The organization filed incorporation papers with the MN Secretary of State on 6/24/2015.

Prior to this, the State Fair and those that ran it were considered to be an arm of the Minnesota Government thereby making the signs unenforceable under MN State law. But that has apparently changed with the 2015 incorporation of the Minnesota State Agriculture Society. They claim that now, like any other private business, they are allowed to post their property and buildings like any other private business under MN law.

A friend of mine who is a competing instructor was asked to leave when they found he was carrying his firearm at the entrance gate. The incorporation was low key, and few of us knew about this subtle but significant change at the State Fair. Prior to the incorporation as a private entity, the Fair officials could not legally stop a permit holder from carrying at the Fair.

The signs like all private postings mean little to carry permit holders. I encourage you to keep the firearm CONCEALED and walk past the private property postings to keep yourself and family safe if need be. There is only a penalty if you are asked to leave and do not. Then it is a petty misdemeanor which under MN law is NOT a criminal offense. You can not be arrested, and your firearm can not be confiscated. It is a simple trespass and a $25 fine. It does not go on your criminal record.

The MN State Fair is inspecting any bags you may be bringing into the fair. I’ve not heard of any pat-downs or wanding taking place. I wonder how they would feel about a carry bag full of pepper spray, stun gun, Tazer® , and knives or better yet – your walking stick (Bo or staff). No signs are up banning those.

Personally I have better things to do than walk around in a sea of Zombies with sticks in their hands. I stick to the burbs and county fairs.

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