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State v. Eide

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

May 30, 2017

State of Minnesota, Respondent,
v.
Inez Fern Eide, Appellant.

         Hennepin County District Court File No. 27-CR-15-28125

          Lori Swanson, Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and Christopher P. Renz, Gary K. Luloff, Chestnut Cambronne, PA, Minneapolis, Minnesota (for respondent)

          Aaron J. Morrison, Wold Morrison Law, Minneapolis, Minnesota (for appellant)

          Considered and decided by Rodenberg, Presiding Judge; Ross, Judge; and Stauber, Judge.

         SYLLABUS

         Because the Metropolitan Airports Commission is not a "governmental subdivision" or any of the other identified entities preempted from regulating firearms under Minnesota Statutes section 471.633 (2016), the legislature has not preempted the commission from prohibiting the undisclosed placement of firearms through airport security-checkpoint screening equipment.

          OPINION

          ROSS, Judge

         When Inez Eide arrived at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and prepared to pass through a security checkpoint to meet a young relative at a gate, she put her purse, which contained a loaded handgun, onto the x-ray conveyer. Airport police issued Eide a citation for violating an airport ordinance. Eide argues on appeal from her conviction that the ordinance is prohibited by Minnesota Statutes section 471.633 and is unconstitutional as a strict-liability offense. Because the Metropolitan Airports Commission is not a "governmental subdivision" or other entity prohibited from regulating firearms under section 471.633, and because the strict liability of the ordinance does not violate Eide's constitutional rights, we affirm.

         FACTS

         Inez Eide went to the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in June 2015 to pick up her minor niece, who was arriving on a flight unaccompanied by an adult. Eide obtained a gate pass so she could meet her niece as she deplaned. Eide put her purse on the security checkpoint conveyor to be scanned. But she left her loaded handgun inside, and security personnel discovered it. Eide told airport police that she had forgotten about the gun. Police charged Eide with violating a Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) ordinance prohibiting anyone from putting a firearm through inspection equipment at a security screening area without first informing security personnel about the gun.

         Eide argued to the district court that the ordinance is barred by Minnesota Statutes section 471.633, which restricts certain entities from regulating firearms, and that the ordinance violates the Due Process Clause and the Second Amendment by establishing a strict-liability firearm offense. The district court rejected the statutory argument, reasoning that a different statute authorizes the MAC to enact ordinances and that section 471.633 does not limit that authority. The district court also rejected Eide's constitutional arguments. The parties submitted the case for trial on stipulated facts, and the district court found Eide guilty of violating the ordinance. Eide appeals.

         ISSUES

I. Does Minnesota Statutes section 471.633 prohibit the MAC from regulating firearms in airport security screening areas?
II. Does MAC Ordinance 117.6.5 violate Eide's constitutional rights by establishing a strict-liability offense for placing a firearm in a security screening device ...

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