Teen suing over FOID Card denial seeks summary judgment

Bethany Krajelis Aug. 12, 2013, 8:03am

An 18-year-old suing over the denial of her Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) Card application has asked a federal judge to grant her summary judgment.

Filed last month, Tempest Horsley’s motion for summary judgment also seeks a court order deeming the provision of the FOID Card Act that requires 18, 19 and 20-year-olds to obtain written consent from their parents as unconstitutional.

In addition, Horsley wants the court to direct Jessica Trame, chief of the Illinois State Police’s Firearms Services Bureau, to process her FOID Card application and issue her a valid card within 30 days, as well as award her court costs and attorney fees.

Represented by Wood River attorney Thomas Maag, Horsley sued Trame in April in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois after her FOID Card application was denied because her parents refused to provide their written consent.

In her suit, Horsley asserts that she sought a FOID card so she could obtain a double-barrel shotgun “pursuant to the suggestion of Vice President Joe Biden,” who said in February 2013 that “if you want to protect yourself, get a double-barreled shotgun.”

Horsley contends that the act’s parental consent requirement for those under 21 seeking a FOID Card violates her constitutional rights to possess a firearm for self-defense under the Second and Fourteenth Amendments.

Trame, who was sued in her official capacity and is represented by the Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office, asked a federal judge in June to dismiss Horsley’s suit.

Joshua D. Ratz, an attorney in Madigan’s Springfield office, submitted that motion, which asserts that the scope of the Second Amendment does not extend to protect those under the age of 21.

Madigan’s office also contends that Horsley's suit should be dismissed because she “alleged no activity protected by the Second Amendment” or in the alternative, “because the FOID Card Act survives intermediate scrutiny under the Second Amendment.”

Horsley filed a response in opposition to Trame’s motion to dismiss in late June, saying that Madigan’s office was wrong.

“To suggest that the writers of the Second Amendment did not intend to protect the rights of 18-year-olds is intellectually dishonest,” Horsley asserts in her response. “[C]onstitutional rights do not mature and come into being magically only when one attains the state-defined age of majority.”

She also noted that Illinois is “the odd man out” as 48 of the 50 states do not have restrictions requiring those under 21 to obtain parental consent to obtain a firearm. Horsley dubbed Illinois’ FOID Card Act “an aberration by national standards.”

In her recently-filed motion seeking summary judgment, Horsley states that “[t]o a certain extent, this motion is a mere procedural technicality.”

“Either the Second Amendment does not apply to 18 year olds and this case must be dismissed (something Plaintiff strenuously disputes), or, alternatively, 18 year olds have rights under the Second Amendment, and Plaintiff is entitled to judgment in her favor as a matter of law,” she asserts.

“For lack of a better analogy,” Horsley adds, “this is a flip of a coin case, its (sic) either heads or tails, unless Defendant wishes to contest the basic factual matters in this case that Plaintiff considers not only undisputed, but undisputable (sic).”

In her motion, Horsley repeats many of the same arguments she made in previous court filings, including one that stems from the 1976 ruling in Planned Parenthood of Central Missouri v. Danforth.

The court in that case struck down a portion of a Missouri law that required minors and married women to obtain parental or spousal consent in order to get an abortion.

Horsley asserts that if she was 17, one year younger than she currently is, and pregnant, the state could not require her to obtain parental consent to get an abortion, but “[y]et, this blanket parental consent requirement … is being imposed on 18 year olds seeking to own plain ordinary firearms.”

“For this Court to sustain the challenged requirement in this case,” Horsley contends, “this Court will be obliged to find Plaintiff’s Second Amendment rights to be inferior to her abortion rights.”

Horsley argues that while she “does not dispute that the state has an interest in public safety and restricting firearm passion to responsible people,” its “logic fails.”

This is so, she asserts, because the state presumes that 18 year olds who are able to obtain parental consent for a FOID Card are less dangerous than those who can’t and that it has a “legitimate interest in totally barring 18, 19 or 20 year olds from possessing arms in their own home, which it does not.”

Horsley contends that the arguments Madigan’s office made in seeking dismissal further fail as statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation “show that many more people are murdered in Illinois with hands and feet than with rifles or shotguns.”

“In fact, in 2011, 17 times as many people were murdered with hands and feet in Illinois than with shotguns, and there is no evidence that this single 2011 shotgun equipped murder was committed by an 18, 19 or 20 year old,” Horsley asserts in her motion, noting that rifle data is similar.

As of late Friday, no ruling had been entered on Horsley’s motion for summary judgment.

Electronic court records show that a scheduling and discovery telephone conference has been set for Aug. 30 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Williams.

Records also show that a final pretrial conference has been scheduled for June 9, 2014 before U.S. District Judge William Stiehl with a trial presumed to take place in July 2014.

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