NRA v. Swearingen: Challenging the NRA to Support Gun Safety in Florida
Case Information: NRA v. Swearingen, No. 18-cv-00137 (N.D. Fla. brief filed August 13, 2020)
At Issue: In response to the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the Florida Legislature passed a bipartisan Act to address the crisis of gun violence in the state: the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act. Among other things, this act generally prohibits anyone under the age of 21 from purchasing a firearm. Hours after Governor Rick Scott signed the act into law, the NRA filed a lawsuit claiming that the age restriction violates the Second Amendment. In January, Giffords Law Center filed an amicus brief in defense of the law, joined by Brady, Team ENOUGH, March for our Lives Action Fund, and Orange Ribbons for Gun Safety—a nonprofit gun safety organization founded by Fred Guttenberg, the father of Jaime Guttenberg, who was killed at Parkland. In August of 2020, we jointly filed a supplemental amicus brief with updated information.
Our Brief: Our original brief identified neuroscience and social science research demonstrating that 18-to-20-year-olds are at higher risk of using firearms to commit crime and attempt suicide, and are also disproportionately likely to be the victims of firearm-related violence. This brief brings two newly published studies to the court’s attention—one study by the RAND corporation which found that minimum age laws may reduce firearm suicides, and another study by Nestadt et al., which found that long guns play a disproportionate role in suicides by 18-to-24-year-olds in rural areas. We also highlighted the findings of a selection of key studies from the original brief, showing that 18-to-20-year-olds are at increased risk of misusing firearms and of being injured by firearms, and that the Florida Legislature therefore acted appropriately to craft a tailored solution to address that risk.