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Posted: 5/9/2003 3:54:00 AM EDT

                            A noted libertarian think tank has asked a federal
                            court to bar the National Rifle Association from
                            participating in a lawsuit challenging Washington,
                            D.C.'s total ban on handguns.

                            A pair of scholars from the CATO Institute filed suit
                            in federal court in Washington, D.C. earlier this year
                            on behalf of six plaintiffs who are challenging the
                            constitutionality of the District's ban on handguns.
                            Last month, NRA attorneys Stephen Halbrook and
                            Richard Gardiner filed a motion to have the court
                            consolidate CATO's suit and a separate but similar
                            suit filed by the NRA. (Note: You must have Adobe
                            Acrobat to open this file).

                            The request has drawn the ire of CATO attorneys
                            Alan Gura and Robert Levy, however, leading them
                            to file a motion with the court May 1 to have NRA's
                            request denied.

                            "The motion to consolidate should be denied because
                            it is untimely, ill-conceived and inappropriate," the
                            attorneys wrote.

                            The NRA joined plaintiffs Sandra Seegars, Gardine
                            Hailes, Absalom Jordan Jr., Carmela Brown and
                            Robert Hemphill April 4; CATO lawyers filed their
                            suit on behalf of these five plaintiffs and "lead
                            plaintiff" Shelly Parker Feb. 10.

                            But, CATO attorneys said, "allowing the Seegars
                            plaintiffs to join this litigation would substantially and
                            unnecessarily complicate what is presently a
                            straightforward single-issue case.

                            "By adding a variety of extraneous claims to a case
                            that is nearly ready for summary disposition, the
                            Seegars plaintiffs would impede this court in resolving
                            the narrow issue presented in the Parker litigation
                            and substantially prejudice the Parker plaintiffs by
                            delaying resolution of their claim," CATO attorneys

                            "The Seegars plaintiffs' attempt to participate in this
                            case is motivated not by a bona fide desire to
                            adjudicate their claims, but by the improper strategic
                            goals of their sponsor, the National Rifle Association,"
                            said the think tank's legal team.

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