Gun age lawsuit set for October trial

A National Rifle Association challenge to a state law that increased the minimum age to buy rifles and other long guns could remain unresolved for nearly another year.

Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker has scheduled a trial for a period that begins Oct. 19, 2020, according to an order issued last month. The NRA filed the lawsuit in 2018 after the Legislature passed a school-safety law following the mass shooting at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that killed 17 people.

The law included raising from 18 to 21 the minimum age to purchase rifles and other long guns. The NRA challenged the constitutionality of the age restriction, but the lawsuit was on hold for more than a year because of a fight about whether two young adult plaintiffs could remain anonymous.

The NRA last month dropped an appeal about the anonymity issue, pointing to a desire to get the underlying case resolved. Walker’s order set a June 10 deadline for the state and the NRA to file motions for summary judgment, which, if successful, could avert the need for a trial.

He also directed that a mediation conference start by June 3.