State seeks stay in briefing on motion for summary judgment in teen's FOID card suit

By Bethany Krajelis | Aug 20, 2013

The state has asked a federal judge to stay briefing on a motion for summary judgment filed last month by an 18-year-old suing over the denial of her Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) Card application.

On behalf of defendant Jessica Trame, chief of the Illinois State Police’s Firearm Services Bureau, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office on August 16 filed its motion seeking a stay in briefing over Tempest Horsley’s July 18 request for summary judgment.

“[T]he Court should stay briefing on the motion for summary judgment until such time as the Court has had an opportunity to consider Defendant’s motion to dismiss and, if necessary, Defendants have had an opportunity to file an Answer and conduct discovery regarding the facts alleged in Plaintiff’s complaint and motion,” the state asserts.

The state further contends in its motion that “a stay in briefing the motion for summary judgment pending a ruling on the motion to dismiss will allow the Court to better frame the issues in the event the case survives dismissal, so that the parties may better tailor their discovery and arguments for a more efficient resolution of the issues.”

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 in February 2013 said “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.

The state in June filed a motion to dismiss Horsley’s suit, arguing that scope of the Second Amendment does not extend to protect those under the age of 21 and in the alternative, that the FOID Card Act is constitutional.

Horsley last month filed a motion for summary judgment, seeking an order to direct Trame to process and approve her application and issue her a FOID card.

Among other arguments, Horsley claims that constitutional rights do not mature when one reaches the state-defined age of majority and that Illinois is “the odd man out” as 48 of the 50 states do not require parental consent for persons under 21 seeking firearms.

In its motion for a stay in briefing on the motion for summary judgment, the state asserts that Horsley’s motion “raises more than mere questions of law.”

This, the state claims, is because her motion seeks an order directing the issuance of a FOID card, “asserting as a factual matter that Plaintiff is not prohibited from obtaining a FOID card by any number of laws whose validity Plaintiff does not challenge.”

In her motion for summary judgment, Horsley claims that her parents refused to give her consent on the FOID card application and that she could not obtain a guardian for the purpose of providing consent.

She also argues that she is not precluded from getting a FOID card or possessing a firearm by reason of mental instability, prior felony convictions or other disqualifying facts under the act.

The state asserts that “Such facts are necessarily within the knowledge of Plaintiff and other parties, not the Defendant, such that discovery into these issues will be required, depending on the Court’s ruling on Defendant’s motion to dismiss.”

In the state’s motion for a stay, Joshua Ratz, an assistant attorney general in Springfield, notes that he was on paternity leave when Horsley filed her motion for summary judgment.

He wrote that when he returned to the office on Aug. 8, he began preparing for a trial in one case and response briefs in two others.

Ratz added that he “will be engaged in extensive preparation in the coming weeks” for an upcoming hearing before the Civil Service Commission, “in addition to a balancing the demands of his caseload.”

As such, Ratz requested a 28-day extension --from Thursday to Sept. 26 -- to respond to Horsley’s motion for summary judgment, if the court finds that a stay is not warranted.

Court records show that a scheduling and discovery telephone conference has been set for Aug. 30 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Williams and that a trial presumed to take place in July 2014.

More News

The Record Network