LICENSING, HUMAN RIGHTS
Live events sector
Most festivals do their utmost to ensure their events are peaceful, trouble free and that festival goers respect each other, and don’t bring in weapons. Not so Norman, Okla, where a pro-gun group have brought a court claim in the Cleveland County Court, challenging the Norman Music Festival’s ‘no gun’ policy
A lawsuit has been filed against the City of Norman and Norman Music Alliance, who sponsors the Norman Music Festival. The injunction hearing, which could determine whether weapons are allowed at the festival, was originally set for April 28 – AFTER the festival was scheduled to take place on April 23-25. District Judge Thad Balkman, who the case was assigned to, said the hearing will be moved and the case will be heard prior to the event’s dates.
Don Spencer, vice president of Oklahoma Second Amendment Association, said not allowing weapons at the music festival is in violation of state law, as it is a public event. The gun group claims the ban violates the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act, which prohibits “subjective or arbitrary” rules beyond those specified in the Act. Spencer said “If the city of Norman decided that they didn’t want minorities to be at this event, I would be here protesting the same things for the same reasons. It’s a constitutional right for a person to be here peacefully. So, it needs to take place,” Lana Cohlmia, Oklahoma Second Amendment Association’s attorney, reportedly said the city does not have the ability or Constitutional right to take away the right to protect yourself” adding that the City of Norman has no authority to prohibit the open or concealed carry of pistols on the public roadways of the City of Norman by a person properly licensed under the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act.”
Spencer said he will politely decline if asked to leave the festival for bringing his gun saying he needed it for protection. “We will respond peaceably if arrested,” he said. “We will hold [the arresting officers’] superior officers accountable for their actions.” The plaintiffs seek declaratory judgment and a temporary restraining order.
UPDATE: Judge Balkman issued a temporary restraining order (Friday 17th) against the city of Norman and the Norman Music Alliance, prohibiting enforcement of a gun ban at the upcoming Norman Music Festival. Judge Balkman ruled in favor of the Oklahoma Second Amendment Association, whose attorney argued that banning licensed gun carriers from carrying guns to the festival was a violation of both state and federal law and an infringement on people’s constitutional rights. “The court gives great weight to constitutional rights issues,” Judge Balkman said. Judge Balkman said he was only ruling on the request for a temporary restraining order. He will hear further arguments at 8 a.m. on Thursday — the day the music festival opens — on whether an injunction should be issued.