NEW YORK – Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice on Wednesday for its failure to produce records of government employees’ communications with the National Rifle Association and National Shooting Sports Foundation that occurred after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on February 14, 2018.
“The Trump Administration’s choices on gun policy have major consequences for public safety, and the public deserves to know the extent to which the gun lobby is influencing those choices,” said Eric Tirschwell, Managing Director of Litigation and National Enforcement Policy of Everytown Law, the litigation arm of Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund. “Our open records laws are in place for good reason, and the Trump Administration has a legal obligation to comply.”
After 18 months of waiting for DOJ to produce documents in response to Everytown’s April 2018 FOIA requests, the law firm of Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP, along with Everytown Law, filed the lawsuit in federal court. In addition to seeking DOJ communication with the NRA and NSSF after the Parkland shooting, the lawsuit also seeks records regarding the abandonment of gun violence prevention initiatives launched during the Obama Administration. The lawsuit points out that the requested records are “of vital national importance” and pertain to the extent of the gun lobby’s influence on government decision-makers.
In an August ruling in a separate FOIA lawsuit, Everytown Law won a major federal court decision that overturned the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ refusal to produce data from its firearms tracing database. The decision broke new ground as the only federal court decision to hold that a Congressional appropriations law known as the Tiahrt Rider, first passed at the urging of the gun lobby in 2003, cannot be used by the ATF to withhold data under the federal Freedom of Information Act. The decision can be viewed here.