Federal judge denies NRA request to keep identities of teenagers in suit anonymous
© WikiMedia (Cory Doctorow)

Federal judge denies NRA request to keep identities of teenagers in suit anonymous

Federal judge Mark Walker for the US District Court of the Northern District of Florida [official website] denied [order, PDF] the request by the National Rifle Association (NRA) [advocacy website] on Sunday to use pseudonyms for teenagers involved in the legal challenge against new Florida gun laws.

In March, the Florida legislature passed new restrictions [text, PDF] to purchasing a firearm, including raising the age limit from 18 to 21 years. The NRA quickly filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] challenging the changes as a violation of the Second Amendment right to bear arms.

The NRA asks the judge last month to keep the identities of two 19-year-old teenagers involved in the case as “John Doe” or “Jane Doe” to avoid harsh ramifications by the public.

Despite sympathizing with the likely possibility of harassment, Walker says precedent binds him to deny the request. He stated that “if it were entirely up to this court, the court would not hesitate to grant the NRA’s motion,” but former cases insist that pseudonyms can only be used in exceptional cases.

The judge gave the NRA until May 21 to add the real names or remove them from the lawsuit.