NRA Tells Judge It Fears Harassment in Suit Over Florida Gun Law

(Bloomberg) -- Two 19-year-old Florida residents who joined the National Rifle Association in suing over the state’s new gun-control law asked a federal judge to let them remain anonymous, saying they fear for their safety because NRA staff have received threatening calls and emails.

The NRA sued after the state raised the age for purchasing guns to 21 from 18 following the February massacre of 17 students and faculty at a high school in Parkland, Florida. The NRA claims the law violates the Second Amendment rights of citizens aged 18 to 20, while gun-control advocates say people who can’t buy beer shouldn’t be allowed to buy an AR-15.

In a filing Thursday in federal court in Tallahassee, the gun lobby group cited case law that allows plaintiffs to remain anonymous in lawsuits that are "sensitive and highly personal" -- a standard usually used in cases involving sexual assault or pornographic material. The NRA said the teens -- a man and a woman -- could be put in danger by public attention.

"I am afraid that if my association with the lawsuit became public, I would be subjected to harassment, intimidation, threats, and potentially even physical violence," the female plaintiff said in an affidavit signed "Jane Doe."

"Publication of her identity would expose her to unwanted public attention and censure for exercising her right to challenge a statute denying her a fundamental constitutional right," the NRA said.

Marion Hammer, a representative of the NRA, has received "numerous threatening and harassing emails and phone calls," the group said. Several emails were attached to the NRA’s filing, including one dated Feb. 28 saying, "Next time I hope it’s someone in your family looking down the barrel of a gun or shot in the back trying to flee some great Floridian."

The name of the alleged sender was blacked out.

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