He says he lives near “one of the worst gun pits” and “has had bullets fly over his head,” but that’s no reason Palatka goat farmer Mitchell Williams should be allowed to join in a federal lawsuit filed by the National Rifle Association last month, according to U.S. District Judge Mark Walker.
Walker on Friday denied Williams’ at-times-hilarious motion to intervene in the challenge, filed by the NRA almost immediately after Gov. Rick Scott signed a sweeping school-safety law on March 9.
The NRA’s complaint focuses on a provision in the new law that raised from 18 to 21 the age to purchase long guns, including semi-automatic rifles like the one 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz last year bought legally in Florida and used to slaughter 17 people and injure 17 others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14. The NRA alleges the new age requirement, already in place to purchase handguns, is unconstitutional.
Williams, the goat farmer, wants to ban the sale of bullets to prevent future school shootings.
“The sale and purchase of ammunition is the weak leak to the trail of lunacy leading to many of these shootings,” Williams wrote in his eight-page motion.
The lack of bullets, shells, etc., “will mean that the gun is more or less dangerous than a steel pipe of the same weight and size, he wrote.
As good (or bad) as Williams’ logic might be, Walker didn’t buy it.
Williams doesn’t have any express right to intervene in the case, even though he asserted he has an “obvious interest in seeing that students are not murdered that might have bought one or more of (his) goats,” as the judge noted in his order denying the goat farmer’s motion.
“Having read Mr. Williams’s motion, it seems that his qualms are better suited for resolution by a legislature than by this Court,” Walker wrote.
Williams maintains that the new law does not go far enough and proposes a new restriction on and proposes “alternative solutions,” such as restrictions on the sale and use of ammunition, Walker noted.
But, the judge wrote, “It is not this Court’s job to fashion new laws.”
“If Mr. Williams wants to share his ideas with the Florida Legislature, he is more than welcome to,” Walker concluded.
In a footnote, Walker even gave Williams a little assistance, should the Palatka man decide to take the judge’s advice, by providing a link to the “contact us” section of the Florida Legislature’s website.