Courtesy Iowa Firearms Coalition
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Several Monroe County, Iowa officials thought it was a good idea to sue a gun rights group and one individual over their righteous challenge to some illegal gun-free zones that have been established on county property. Now the litigious officials are facing a counterclaim for violating the civil rights of members of the Iowa Firearms Coalition and Mr. Thompson.

It all started with a strong firearm preemption law that passed (along party lines) in the Iowa legislature and was signed into law last June. Anti-gun politicians and Moms Demand Action types freaked out, worrying that they might be held personally liable for infringing on peoples’ Second Amendment rights.

Some officials in Monroe County apparently thought they were above the law, though, and designated some county properties as off limits to gun carriers. Some individuals, including J.D. Thompson, along with the Iowa Firearms Coalition challenged those officials publicly.

In response, some of those public officials filed suit against Thompson and the IFC, seeking an order requiring that Thompson and the IFC pay for the county’s legal costs in defending against the suit over the county’s illegal activities.

We don’t know if the Monroe County’s Board of Supervisors consulted anyone at Dewey, Cheatham and Howe concerning their legal strategy, but that decision to sue private citizens seeking to hold their elected officials accountable for violating the law may have just backfired. Bigly.

Image courtesy Monroe County, Iowa (via webpage)

The IFC and Mr. Thompson have now filed a counterclaim. They are seeking to hold the county officials personally liable as well as the Monroe County Board of Supervisors in their official capacity.

In other words, the counterclaim seeks to make it personal against the brain trust that thought it a good idea to sue citizens for demanding that Monroe County follow the rule of law.

The Iowa Firearms Coalition, founded in 2010, has the news release on the countersuit.

Des Moines – 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.

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.

Clearly, we will follow this case and report on the updates.

And for pushing back twice as hard against would-be tyrants who were ignoring the rule of law, we believe the Iowa Firearms Coalition and JD Thompson have earned our Gun Heroes of the Day award. In fact, we might have to give them a Gun Heroes of the Year award if they manage to walk away with an award for personal damages from the named supervisors in addition to cash from the county itself.

It’s long past time to hold some of these political leaders who willfully ignore the law personally responsible for their illegal edicts that infringe on their fellow residents’ gun rights.

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    • That seems to be what they are going after……..

      Quite frankly that means they must have overstepped in a huge way if they think they have a chance on the countersuit getting past their soverign immunity.

  1. “We’ll take your rights and then send you a bill”.

    Well, here’s to hoping it doesn’t work out well for them.

      • I always thought I caught a faint scent of tuna whenever I was in Council Bluffs.

        Also, if America had an anus it’d be Chikybo.

        • One of the girlfriends I had a while back said our sex life had stalled.
          I asked her if she wanted to try something new.
          She said, “Sure! Why don’t you kiss me where it stinks.”

          So I took her to Sioux City.

        • Frankly, IA has two stinkholes. Ames and Iowa City.

          But then I’m sure most Texans are pretty embarrassed about Austin too.

      • Oh, I can help

        Why do all the trees in Minnesota lean south? Because Iowa sucks

        What does Iowa stand for? Idiots Out Wandering Around

        What does Iowa stand for? I Owe the World an Apology

        What are the two best things coming out of Iowa? I35 and I80

  2. It would be better and send a stronger message if these Public Officials were charged with the appropriate criminal charges, removed from Office and sent to prison for violating the public’s trust.

    Let the punishment fit the crime. They want to take away peoples freedom illegally, take away their freedom.

    That would send a strong message if it set the appropriate precedence and began to happen at every level of government.

  3. Right on.

    We need more laws that make local officials personally liable. It is the best way to fix issues.

  4. Unfortunately, Iowa has no specific statutory protections against “strategic lawsuits against public participation,” ie. SLAPP suits. In this case, government intimidation is so obvious and insidious that no special laws should be necessary. The county is about to get b!tch slapped.

    • What I don’t understand is why the defendants did not try to get the case dismissed right out of the gate; the complaint, in legal terminology, “doesn’t state facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action.” If the County wants a judicial determination as to the validity of its restrictions, these defendants are the wrong parties; it should be suing the State itself. In the (unlikely) event that such a motion failed, then the appropriate step would be to cross-complain, as has been done here. Either way, the county is going to pay.

      • Even that initial level of response requires hiring lawyers and other litigation related costs. The authoritarians are counting on “you may beat the rap, but you won’t beat the ride” to abuse those who dare to question their illegal actions.

        That such actions are so common and clearly wrong is why anti-SLAPP laws are common. This is also why those who made the decision to engage in this abuse should be held personally responsible for their actions.

    • Ralph,

      Man this stuff (politicians and bureaucrats going out of their way to screw-over good people for constructively exercising constitutionally enumerated rights) is infuriating. If the courts fail to smack-down those county officials in a big way, I wonder if anyone in that county could manage to find a 55 gallon drum, 8 buckets of tar, and ten feather pillows for strategic use?

  5. That’s interesting. Monroe County is in the south central part of the state. It’s rural which is usually pro-gun. I wonder how the supervisors will fare in the next election.

    Iowa has required permits to carry off your property for a long time. They used to be may issue at the sheriff’s discretion. Some sheriff’s were pretty much shall issue while others were almost never issue. The irony was that a permit issued by a pro-gun sheriff was valid in a county with an anti-gun sheriff. For someone moving into the state, it was worth checking out the sheriff. Which side of the county line you lived on could determine whether you could get a permit valid everywhere in the state. The inconsistency between counties became so bad that the state legislature and governor were willing to enact shall issue statewide. A sheriff still can challenge a permit application but he needs real evidence to block it. His unsubstantiated opinion is no longer good enough.

    A few years ago, Iowa enacted stand your ground.

  6. To see pompous pasty mouth Gun Control zealots getting a boot put up their sick behinds is orgasmic.

    • Are you down in the dumps? Having trouble with life? Loud mouthed kids, a dead end job and troubles with the wife? Well, just think: at least you’re not the poor geezer what lays down with this miserable, nonsensical hag. You’re welcome 😘!

      • “just think: at least you’re not the poor geezer what lays down with this…”

        At least she has a man, and all you have is your hand and a giant jar of Vaseline your mom sometimes puts ground glass in… 😉

  7. 2021 Iowa State Tourism Bureau

    “Iowa…one day we’ll be just like Illinois!!”

  8. As do most conservatives, I no longer believe that law and justice is available in America unless you’re in the communist cabal.

    The corruption of the law, department of justice, congress, white house, judges, prosecutors. attorneys and all their minions is awesome to behold.

    All of these criminals are rubbing it into the faces of American Patriots, while cackling, laughing, insulting and abusing them.

    There will come a day, when the 450,000,000 guns in this country will speak with a single loud and terrifying voice, and all these criminals will answer to the American People for their years and years of crime..

    • Unfortunately, Deputy Czar of the Harris Ministry of Love, Eric “Sleeps With Chinese Fishes (rhymes with biches)” Swalwell will exercise his Nuclear Option on small town America with the concurrence of the other three Ministries and Ingsoc’s Big Sister.

      Here’s hoping that the counter suit is successful and breaks it off so far up the Monroe County officials fundios that it requires a Proctological Surgeon to remove the impacted debris.

  9. The whole issue is very simple. You have a second amendment or you don’t. if we win they need to go after the council with punitive damegas, take their house and everything they own.

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