Teen suing over FOID Card Act claims Illinois is 'odd man out'

By Bethany Krajelis | Jul 2, 2013

An 18-year-old suing over the denial of her Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) Card application asserts the state is “simply wrong” in its contention that the Second Amendment does not extend to protect those under 21.

"To suggest that the writers of the Second Amendment did not intend to protect the rights of 18-year-olds is intellectually dishonest," Tempest Horsley claims in her recently-filed response and objection to the state's motion to dismiss her suit.

"[C]onstitutional rights," she adds, "do not mature and come into being magically only when one attains the state-defined age of majority.”

Horsley filed a federal lawsuit in April against Jessica Trame in her official capacity as chief of the Illinois State Police’s Firearms Services Bureau after her FOID Card application was denied because her parents refused to sign it.

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

Represented by Wood River attorney Thomas Maag, Horsley claims that Trame’s denial of her FOID card application violates the “constitutional right to possess a firearm for self-defense, pursuant to the Second and Fourteenth Amendments.”

Joshua D. Ratz, an attorney in Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s Springfield office, last month filed a motion to dismiss Horsley’s suit on behalf of Trame, asserting that the scope of the Second Amendment does not extend to protect those under 21.

Madigan’s office contends that the 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 last week filed a response and objection to the state’s motion to dismiss, which contends that neither of the state’s arguments “has any degree of validity whatsoever.”

“The only real question presented to this Court is whether an 18 year old citizen of the United States and Illinois has any rights whatsoever under the Second and Fourteenth Amendments, and if so, are they subject to parental veto,” she states in her response.

Horsley asserts that the right to keep and bear arms is a Constitutional right afforded to all Americans, including 18-year-olds “by virtue of the fact that they are Americans.”

“Interestingly enough, if Plaintiff was pregnant, and 17-years-old (one year younger than she actually is), the state could not impose a blanket parental consent requirement in order to obtain an abortion,” Horsley contends in her response.

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

Horsley goes on to note that she could buy and possess a firearm in any state except Hawaii and Illinois “at her whim” without having to obtain parental consent.

“To be clear, 48 of the 50 states do not have the restrictions Illinois has on 18 year olds,” Horsley claims in her response.

Saying that Illinois “is the odd man odd,” Horsley asserts that “the entire FOID act, which is not challenged except on this narrow point related to parental signatures as a prerequisite for qualification, is an aberration by national standards.”

She notes that when it comes to Colonial and Founding Era firearm laws, she “could not find a single statute of that era which prohibited the possession of arms by 18 year olds because of their status as an 18-year-old, and alas, Defendant thus far has failed to cite one.”

Horsley’s suit seeks a court order directing Trame to accept Horsley’s FOID card application and to enjoin the state official from denying other applications on the basis that they are not signed by a parent or legal guardian, as well as an award of attorney fees and costs.

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