Iowa: Dispute Over State Gun Law Will Likely Prove Costly For County Taxpayers

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Iowa: Dispute Over State Gun Law Will Likely Prove Costly For County Taxpayers, istock

Iowa – -(AmmoLand.com)- After filing a lawsuit against the Iowa Firearms Coalition (IFC) and Albia resident J.D. Thompson, Monroe County now finds itself a named defendant in counterclaims that will likely prove costly to the county.

Following separate inquiries to the county about potential violations of a firearms preemption law passed in 2020, Thompson and the IFC found themselves named as defendants in a lawsuit filed by Monroe County on February 23, 2021. The county’s lawsuit seeks a declaratory judgment about the law and asks for an order that Thompson and the IFC pay their attorney fees.

Iowa Firearms Coalition vs Monroe County Iowa

Thompson and the IFC’s answer, filed on March 11, 2021, includes counterclaims against Monroe County and several Monroe County officials, including the supervisors in their individual capacities.

“We look forward to pushing back against this abuse of power by Monroe County officials and vindicating the legal rights of J.D. and the Iowa Firearms Coalition” said IFC attorney William Gustoff. He continued, “Every Iowan has the right to ask questions of public officials, and especially to question an illegal policy, without the fear of being sued for doing so or having to hire an attorney for petitioning government.”

H.F. 2502, signed by Gov. Kim Reynolds on June 25, 2020, prohibits political subdivisions from banning firearm possession in buildings unless security screening and armed guards are provided.

Monroe County prohibits firearm possession in all areas of the courthouse, even in spaces that are not used for judicial branch functions. Thompson alerted county officials that their policy violates Iowa law and then, receiving no response from the county, wrote a letter to the editor of the local newspaper on the matter. The IFC appears to have been sued because it was mentioned by Thompson as a source of information and because another IFC member sent his own inquiries about the policy to the county.

“Monroe County’s decision to sue someone because he simply asked his local government to follow the law is truly outrageous,” said attorney Alan Ostergren. “The Monroe County board of supervisors voted to sue an individual because he wrote them a letter and sent a letter to the editor of the local paper. We will ask the court to hold them accountable for their unconstitutional actions” Ostergren added.

Thompson and the IFC’s counterclaims request confirmation that Monroe County’s firearms policy violates Iowa law and assert that Monroe County and its board of supervisors violated their civil rights by retaliating against them for exercising rights protected by the U.S. and Iowa Constitutions. Thompson and the IFC claim the county sued them to infringe on their rights to engage in free speech, petition the government, exercise freedom of association, and peaceably assemble. Additionally, they assert that the county and the sheriff violated Iowa law by releasing confidential information about Thompson’s possession of a permit to carry concealed weapons. The parties seek damages and attorney fees, as provided in federal and state law for such violations.

The counterclaims include a request that Monroe County board of supervisors Dennis Amoss, John Hughes, and Michael Beary be held personally liable for punitive damages for retaliation in violation of the Iowa Constitution.

Thompson and the IFC are represented by Des Moines attorneys William Gustoff and Andrew Karas of Hagenow & Gustoff LLP and Alan Ostergren of Alan R. Ostergren, P.C. They report that discussions earlier this week with the law firm defending Monroe County on the counterclaims were brief and not productive in finding a resolution.

Hagenow & Gustoff LLP

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Mudhunter
Mudhunter
5 months ago

An elitist or police state mentality has infected their local government. How dare someone question what they are doing. And that idea has also infected the sheriff’s department. The state should be investigating the sheriff’s department to see if it has been corrupted.

I hope punitive damages are in the billions.

Finnky
Finnky
5 months ago

Sound as though Monroe county contends their only option is to provide security to comply with the state law. State law does not mandate provision of security. County can comply by simply allowing carry in areas necessary to comply with the law.

They still need to face consequences for release of private information, but majority of lawsuit could be so easily resolved.

Dr. Strangelove
Dr. Strangelove
5 months ago

Vindictive lawfare. The IFC does a lot of good work here in Iowa and I’m a member. Through their efforts and of Iowa Gun Owners, we should be seeing constitutional carry soon.

Deplorable Bill
Deplorable Bill
6 months ago

Tyranny.

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
6 months ago

Another one of those uppity non-government employees.

Do something to make his life difficult:

“Additionally, they assert that the county and the sheriff violated Iowa law by releasing confidential information about Thompson’s possession of a permit to carry concealed weapons.”

22Chuck
22Chuck
5 months ago
Reply to  JSNMGC

Horrah for me and to hexx with you.

If you dont like that ry

Rules for thee but not for me!!!

Sounds like the way these fellow operate. “personally liable”–great it wont stick the taxpayers.

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
5 months ago
Reply to  22Chuck

“For my friends anything is possible, for my enemies – it’s the law.”

Totalitarians like lots and lots of laws and lots and lots of law enforcers. They simply enforce the laws against their enemies and don’t enforce them against their friends.

Most law enforcers over the last 105 years have “followed orders.” That’s why democide has accounted for far more murders than street crime.

Lots of different groups of people have difficult decisions to make.