Last week, we reported that a judge refused to allow a lawsuit filed by the NRA to proceed with the defendants’ names protected by a pseudonym. The NRA argued that the use of pseudonyms was necessary to spare these two young people, both of whom are over the age of 18 but under 21 and thus affected by the new law, from harassment that we all know would come about.
After all, look at what happens to a young girl who simply points out the inconsistency in the law. A famous comedian and actor decides to target her for hate and ridicule.
That didn’t matter to the judge, however. As a result, the NRA has decided to halt their lawsuit.
The National Rifle Association opted to stay a lawsuit challenging age restrictions for gun buying in Florida instead of revealing the identities of the plaintiffs in the case. With the case in limbo, the NRA appealed the court’s ruling denying the organization from using pseudonyms for the two 19-year-old NRA members serving as plaintiffs in the case.
“NRA is unwilling to sacrifice these young adults to the perverted filth, hatred and threats of violence from gun ban supporters,” said Marion Hammer, head of the NRA’s Florida affiliate and former NRA president, in a statement. “We must stand up for the First Amendment right to protect the Second Amendment in court without being exposed to hate and violence from gun ban supporters.”
Although the judge overseeing the case expressed sympathy for the NRA’s reasoning — plaintiffs facing ridicule on the Internet for their political beliefs — he explained the NRA’s request to use fictitious names lacked precedent. Federal law permits using pseudonyms in cases deemed sensitive and the plaintiff faces reputational or economic risk.
Florida lawmakers set restrictions for gun buyers under the age of 21 in response to a 19-year-old gunman with an AR-15 rifle entering a high school in Parkland, Florida, in February and murdering 17 people and injuring 15 others. The measure applies the same age restrictions for buying a handgun to buying a long gun.
I’m not going to lie, I’m disappointed by this. I understand the NRA’s decision and even respect it, but that doesn’t change the fact that I wish the lawsuit would have proceeded. This was a knee-jerk reaction law that won’t really do anything to make anyone safer. It merely prevents legal adults from buying a gun for a few more years, which means citizens who are able to live on their own can’t purchase a firearm for self-defense.
Nothing about this is right.
But, again, I get the decision. I understand it and respect it. I just hate the results of that decision, which I’m sure everyone at the NRA hates as well.
This, however, is part of why there has been this push to stigmatize gun owners. The effort is to make it difficult for anyone to stand up for their right to keep and bear arms, just like this. These two young adults have a right to arm themselves, but because of the stigmatization that has gone on, they’re afraid to step into the light because they know what will happen. They know the hate and scorn they’ll receive.
That’s a very real part of it.
So, again, it’s a shame, but it’s also understandable.