Federal Judge Refuses to Dismiss NRA Challenge to Florida Gun Law

How Judges Ignore the Constitution on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms Moussa81, iStock-1006474816
The NRA-ILA reports that a Federal Judge has refused to dismiss an NRA challenge to FL's age restriction on buying firearms. IMG iStock-1006474816

U.S.A. -(AmmoLand.com)- After two years of stalling by the Florida Solicitor General’s Office, it looks like we will finally get our day in court.  Having run out of preliminary, technical motions, the State will finally have to justify its continuing violation of the constitutional rights of law-abiding adults age 18-20. Hopefully, the courts will not allow anti-gun politics to further delay this case.

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JUDGE CLEARS WAY FOR CHALLENGE TO GUN LAW

May 4, 2020

Jim Saunders
TALLAHASSEE — A federal judge has refused to dismiss the National Rifle Association’s challenge to a 2018 state law that blocked people under age 21 from buying guns.
Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office argued that Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker should dismiss the case, which challenges a law that the Legislature and then-Gov. Rick Scott approved after a gunman killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

But Walker, in an eight-page decision Friday, denied the state’s request to dismiss the case, which is scheduled to go to trial in January. Walker made clear that he was not ruling on the NRA’s underlying arguments that the law violates constitutional 2nd Amendment and equal-protection rights — only that the case should be allowed to move forward.

It is important to keep in mind the narrow issue before the court at this stage of the proceedings. This court is not asked to, and does not, decide whether (the law) is constitutional. Rather, the question is whether the plaintiffs’ complaint contains ‘enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face,’” he wrote, quote a legal precedent.

The law, which the Legislature rushed to pass after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas massacre, says that people under age 21 cannot buy firearms, including rifles and shotguns. A federal law already banned licensed firearms dealers from selling handguns to people under 21, and the state law broadened that to also prevent private sales of handguns to people under 21, according to court documents.

“Consequently, 18-to-20-year-old adult citizens in Florida are now prohibited from purchasing any firearm from any source,” Walker wrote.

In a Jan. 21 motion to dismiss the case, attorneys in Moody’s office argued that the measure “follows a long tradition of laws conditioning the purchase of firearms on the purchaser’s having obtained the traditional age of majority — 21 years of age.” Also, the motion said that while the law prevents people ages 18 to 20 from buying guns, it doesn’t prevent them from having guns that, for example, they received as gifts.

“Florida’s age qualification is reasonably calculated to advance the state’s interest because it applies only to the purchase of firearms,” the motion said. “Any law-abiding person over the age of 18 may gift, loan, or allow the use of a firearm to an otherwise qualified person over the age of 18, who may, in turn, keep and use that firearm for any lawful purpose, including home defense, hunting, sport and practice shooting. The sale-gift distinction is aimed at a uniquely dangerous problem — the purchase of firearms by 18-to-20-year-olds absent the judgment of a parent, guardian, or other law-abiding adult that the individual is prepared for the responsibility of gun ownership.”

But in a memorandum filed April 17 opposing the motion to dismiss, NRA attorneys described the law as “draconian” and said it infringes on the constitutional rights of people ages 18 to 20 to keep and bear arms. Also, NRA attorneys contended that the law is not the “least restrictive alternative to achieve a compelling government interest.”

“The ban prevents the ability of all 18-to–20-year-olds to purchase firearms to exercise their Second Amendment rights — even for self-defense in the home,” the NRA memorandum said. “If the compelling interest is limiting gun violence on school campuses, the ban is not the least restrictive means because the ban encompasses all 18-to-20-year-old adult Floridians, including those who no longer have any connection to school campuses. Nor have defendants demonstrated the unavailability of less restrictive alternatives.”

Former Marjory Stoneman Douglas student Nikolas Cruz was 19 at the time he was charged with using a legally purchased semi-automatic rifle to kill 17 students and faculty members at the school. Cruz continues to await trial.

The NRA filed the lawsuit immediately after the law was passed in 2018, but the case has moved slowly, at least in part because of a dispute about an NRA attempt to allow two opponents of the law to participate in the case anonymously — an idea that ultimately was dropped, with a named plaintiff, Radford Fant, joining the case.

While Walker denied the state’s request to dismiss the lawsuit Friday, he agreed to a request to dismiss Moody as a defendant. Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Rick Swearingen remains a defendant.



National Rifle Association Institute For Legislative Action (NRA-ILA)

About NRA-ILA:

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the “lobbying” arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Visit: www.nra.org

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nobodyuknow
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nobodyuknow

Florida’s Communist Government at work! You people in Florida need to find a good constitutionalist and vote him or her into the office of Governor.

Slappy
Member
Slappy

Increasing the age for purchase from 18 to 21 is folly. Three years of age are not the sole determinants of maturity or mental health. Anyone who burdens millions of law-abiding firearm owners by increasing wait times or increasing age limits, when we know these measures don’t prevent crime, will only alienate the law-abiding and misdirect attention and resources away from actually solving our problems. Nikolas Cruz wrote about and talked about going back to Marjory Stoneman and murdering schoolmates for more than six months. Even years before that, he was recognized as a threat. Every government entity that encountered… Read more »

Camotim
Member
Camotim

If one is not old enough to own a firearm, one is not old enough to vote.

nobodyuknow
Member
nobodyuknow

Camotim . . . OR FIGHT IN THE MILITARY!!!

Bob
Member
Bob

One of two things should happen. Either the law is upheld or the voting age is changed, Since voting age was set by the Twenty-sixth Amendment, FL can not change that so the law must be struck. If a person is too young to own a firearm, they are too young to vote in my opinion. The latter is as important as the right to self-defence.

Laddyboy
Member
Laddyboy

“least restrictive alternative to achieve a compelling government interest.” I shall endeavor to decipher this sentence from a “judge”. This sentence means; I the government get to decide what your RIGHTS are. In a nut-shell, this means anything the NAZIS in government can TELL an American Citizen what that CITIZEN can or cannot do depending on that governmental’s FEELINGS at that moment – – the Constitutional SUPREME LAW of the LAND – “BE DAMNED”!!

Mudhunter
Member
Mudhunter

So you are willing to send young men and women under 21 to war with pistols, M4s, sniper rifles, squad machine guns, 50BMGs, rocket launchers, chain guns, 120mm tank canons, artillery, middle and all other manner of weaponry, all in order to protect your right of free speech to confirm you are a creampuff and spineless butt kisser.

What a shining example of moral fortitude.

When you find your balls, you can tell all those nannies and police staters you will help buy their tickets to north Korea. Until then, you are not upholding your oaths to defend the constitution.

Docduracoat
Member
Docduracoat

You will notice that they are only challenging one aspect of that objectionable law.
I want 18 year olds to have the right to purchase a gun.
I also want the ban on “any rate increasing device” removed.
Not only bump stocks, but binary triggers are banned in Florida.
The Marjory Soneman school killer did not use a bumpstock or binary trigger.
Only one person in the entire United States used a bump stock to commit an illegal act of mass murder.
There was no reason to ban binary triggers in Florida

Jonesy
Member
Jonesy

And we have as of yet heard or found out the rest of that story

Laddyboy
Member
Laddyboy

@Doc; Are you referring to the LA sing-a-long slayings? The “law” has YET to ID the weapons used in that “gun free zone”. Stating rifles were use is not an explanation. The report of MULTIPLE shooting positions have NEVER been reasonably explained.

BOHICA
Member

So you can get drafted or join the service at 18, go to war and die and not be responsible enough to own a gun?!?!? They had that crap go on in Georgiai the 60’s and 70’s! You could get drafeted and lose your life, but couldn’t vote or drink!! They lost that fight and they’ll lose this one!!

RoyD
Member
RoyD

I was 17 years and 7 months old when I rolled into Basic Training. Bought my first gun, well actually had to have my Mother buy it, when I was thirteen in October of ’68 after the GCA had passed earlier that year. I wasn’t quite 18 yet when I started babysitting nuclear warheads. We had on average right at 400 at Miesau on any given day.

coonhunter
Member
coonhunter

I had been eyeing a 12 gauge pump rib barrel with a ply choke at Sears for a while. Saved up my money and at 13 when to Sears with my parents, told the man in sporting goods which gun I wanted, bought it and brought it home, and still have it. A few years latter I was going to JR college when the draft board sent me a notice that 2 weeks after I finished that year at Jr college I would be in Fort Polk La. for basic training and on to Nam. I did drop out of… Read more »

Rock
Member
Rock

STOP the popup ads !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Degforyou
Member
Degforyou

Get a ad blocker, works great. I use one and never see any popup ads.

JFCrosby
Member
JFCrosby

Nikolas Cruz misused a gun; therefore, ALL 18-20 year olds have to be punished for his actions… makes sense, doesn’t it?

Laddyboy
Member
Laddyboy

@JFC; It makes perfect sense IF you are a governmental DemoNAZI or a SHEEPLE who wants the CITIZENS of America unable to DEFEND themselves.

gregs
Member
gregs

this is a clear violation of the 14th Amendment equal rights clause, equal rights for all adults except those 18-20 years old. their attempt to justify a very bad, hastily proposed and passed law that did not or will not be beneficial is laughable, except it happened here. I believe they are using the term “traditional age of majority” as a the crux of their argument, which I also believe is in error, as people are legally entitled enter into contracts, and many other things at that age. finally, if we are talking of traditional ages, weren’t all abled bodied… Read more »

Will Flatt
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Will Flatt

Two years to force the courts to do their fricking job, way to go NRA!! How about you REALLY impress us with your commitment (*NOT!*) to 2A by FIRING WAYNE!!!

You idiots are the national laughingstock of the 2A community!

Finnky
Member
Finnky

@WF – Yes they deserve to be kicked – but in response to them actually doing something may not be the right time. Let’s not discourage good behavior on the rare occasions when it does happen.

Will Flatt
Guest
Will Flatt

Until they fire Wayne, literally nothing else they do matters. Period!

Slappy
Member
Slappy

I’m no fan of the NRA, but it was the judicial system and Florida’s attorney general that took two years, not the NRA.

Will Flatt
Guest
Will Flatt

Not disagreeing with you really, as I know the docket determines the timeline, but NRA could’ve gone to federal court for an emergency injunction, yet they elected not to. GOA or FPC would’ve sought an injunction pending the outcome of this case.

Degforyou
Member
Degforyou

Yep, NRA trying to take credit for stuff somebody else did.

Laddyboy
Member
Laddyboy

I lost the list of gun Prohibition projects the NRA was involved with in the betterment (RESTRICTMENTS) which were foisted upon the American Citizens. I believe there were 6 to 10 laws which the NRA backed.

Heed the Call-up
Member
Heed the Call-up

All the major ones, that we know for sure; ’34 NFA, ’38 FFA, ’68 GCA, ’86 auto-weapons ban, ’94 “assault” weapons ban, and Trump’s bump stock ban and agreement with “certain” ERPOs.

Will Flatt
Guest
Will Flatt

I have a meme or infographic for that.