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Judge Tells NRA It Must Use Real Names In Lawsuit Over State's Gun Safety Bill

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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) — A federal judge turned down a request by the National Rifle Association to keep the identity of a 19-year-old Florida woman secret in a lawsuit challenging Florida's new gun law.

The NRA is opposing new age restrictions contained in the gun safety bill signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott shortly after 17 people were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on February 14.

The law raised from 18 to 21 the minimum age to purchase rifles and other long guns. It also imposed a three-day waiting period on the sale of long guns, such as the AR-15 semiautomatic rifle 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz last year legally purchased and is accused of using in the Valentine's Day massacre at his former high school.

The lawsuit was filed March 9 by the NRA which said it wanted to include a 19-year-old woman as a plaintiff in the lawsuit but asked to keep her name confidential. The group also wanted to include testimony from another 19-year-old. It cited harassment of a top NRA official in Florida as the reason for requesting confidentiality.

U.S. District Judge Mark Walker ruled Sunday that parties in lawsuits must use their real names.

He said he was hamstrung by previous court decisions, which forced him to deny the request to keep secret the identities of Jane Doe and John Doe.

Based on precedent, "this court finds that mere evidence of threats and harassment made online is insufficient to outweigh the customary and constitutionally-embedded presumption of openness in judicial proceedings," Walker wrote. "This is especially true where the targets of such threats and harassment are not minors and where the subject at issue does not involve matters of utmost intimacy."

The NRA contends the age restriction in the new law "violates the fundamental rights of thousands of responsible, law-abiding adult Florida citizens and is thus invalid under the Second and Fourteenth Amendments."

"The News Service of Florida contributed to this report."

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