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Morris v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

United States District Court, D. Idaho

January 10, 2014

ELIZABETH E. MORRIS; and ALAN C. BAKER, Plaintiffs,
v.
U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS, et al., Defendants

Page 1083

For Elizabeth Morris, Alan C. Baker, Plaintiffs: James M Manley, Steven J Lechner, LEAD ATTORNEYS, PRO HAC VICE, Mountain States Legal Foundation, Lakewood, CO; John L Runft, LEAD ATTORNEY, RUNFT & STEELE LAW OFFICES, Boise, ID.

For U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, John McHugh, Secretary of the Army, Thomas Bostick, Lieutenant General, Commanding General and Chief Engineers, John S. Kem, Colonel, Northwestern Division Commander, Andrew D. Kelly, Lieutenant Colonel, Walla Walla District Comander and District Engineer, Defendants: Joanne P Rodriguez, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Boise, ID; Daniel M Riess, U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Division, Washington, DC.

OPINION

Page 1084

B. Lynn Winmill, Chief United States District Judge.

MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

INTRODUCTION

The Court has before it a motion for preliminary injunction filed by plaintiffs and a motion to dismiss filed by the defendants. The Court heard oral argument on January 7, 2014, and took the motions under advisement. After further review, the Court has decided, for reasons set forth below, to deny the motion to dismiss and grant the motion for preliminary injunction.

LITIGATION BACKGROUND

Plaintiffs challenge regulations promulgated by the Army Corp of Engineers. The regulations govern the possession of firearms on property administered by the Corps. Plaintiffs argue that the regulations violate their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

The regulations govern over 700 dams -- holding back more than 100 trillion gallons of water -- built by the Corps, and the surrounding recreation areas that serve over 300 million visitors annually. Adopted in 1973, the regulations were intended to provide for more effective management of the lake and reservoir projects. The regulation at issue here reads as follows:

(a) The possession of loaded firearms, ammunition, loaded projectile firing devices, bows and arrows, crossbows, or other weapons is prohibited unless:
(1) In the possession of a Federal, state or local law enforcement officer;

Page 1085

(2) Being used for hunting or fishing as permitted under § 327.8, with devices being unloaded when transported to, from or between hunting and fishing sites;
(3) Being used at authorized shooting ranges; or
(4) Written permission has been received from the District Commander.
(b) Possession of explosives or explosive devices of any kind, including fireworks or other pyrotechnics, is prohibited unless written permission has ...

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