[Update] Weird Lawsuit: Monroe County, Iowa v. Iowa Firearms Coalition & J.D. Thompson

Updated with a statement from Iowa Firearms Coalition below.

As the suit says, Monroe County is suing IFC and a county resident. Specifically, the suit is over a Chief Justice order barring firearms from court houses, and a state law that says if you do that, you must provide security. I jumped right into the filing because I really wondered how the hell the county was going to rationalize a claim against those defendants.

And… I don’t see a claim against them.

I need someone smarter than myself to explain this to me. The obvious unofficial backstory makes it clear that the county is maliciously targeting IFC and Thompson because they warned the county to comply with the law. But the only way the court filing addresses the official defendants is this.

30. Monroe County, Iowa has been advised by the Iowa Firearms Coalition that if it continues to comply with a lawful Order of the Iowa Supreme Court, that it will impose this unfunded mandate upon Monroe County, Iowa or that Monroe County, Iowa will be liable for this unfunded mandate plus attorney fees and other costs allowed by HF 2502. Monroe County, Iowa denied Mr. Thompson’s request.

31. No personal judgement is sought against Mr. Thompson.

Dafuq? There’s no actionable claim. They only say that IFC warned them they should comply with the law. Thompson gets no mention beyond that he made an unspecified — in the filing — request. Neither IFC’s nor Thompson’s warning/request is included in the filing. So even this vague sorta-claim is unsupported.

Other than that, the whole thing is a claim against the state for an unfunded mandate imposed by HF 2502. But even that is bogus. There’s no mandated expenditure; all they have to do is not declare a gun-free zone. If they choose to do that, then they voluntarily accept the expense. It would like Joe Blow calling vehicle registration fees an unfunded mandate; it isn’t because no one has to pay it unless they choose to buy a car.

This reads like a case against the state, and some office intern accidentally listed the wrong defendants. And even then, the alleged unfunded mandate would have been imposed by the Chief Justice who issued the gun-free order. Including IFC and Thompson has no point — legally; unofficially, it looks like retaliation for protected speech — but to make them pay for the county’s suit against the state.

OK, smarter people; what have I missed?

Update: Statement from IFC Chairman Michael Ware:

“You just stated what our attorneys did as well. We have no idea what has motivated this action, but we seek to correct the injustice.”

The case may be BS, but IFC still needs to defend itself. Good attorneys are not cheap. You can help support IFC HERE.

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2A advocate, writer, firearms policy & law analyst, general observer of pre-apocalyptic American life.

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