California’s AB 2571 doesn’t explicitly ban youth shooting competitions, but it doesn’t need to. The legislative language barring “advertising or marketing any firearm-related product, as defined, in a manner that is designed, intended, or reasonably appears to be attractive to minors” is enough to have already chilled the youth shooting sports across the state, and now a second lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the state’s latest gun control law has been filed in federal court.
The first lawsuit, you might remember, was filed shortly after the law took effect by a coalition of Second Amendment groups as well as junior shooting associations and the publisher of a magazine aimed at junior competitive shooters. The new lawsuit is also a cooperative effort; Safari Club International, the U.S. Sportmen’s Alliance Foundation, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, and a non-profit called So Cal Top Guns, Inc. have joined forces in arguing that the new law violates both the First and Second Amendments.
“Law-abiding young adults have a right to bear arms and maintain proficiency in their use—rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment,” says the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Sacramento. One of the four groups going to court, a Los Angeles nonprofit called So Cal Top Guns, said “our entire youth education program is on hold because of this law.
“Thousands of kids have learned firearm safety and have competed at local, state and national events for decades — and now that’s all gone,” the group’s president Paul Cain said in a prepared statement.
Multiple conservation groups such as California Waterfowl and the San Diego County Wildlife Federation also opposed the legislation on similar grounds — but they aren’t participants in the just-filed lawsuit. There are already broad limits on, say, the marketing of tobacco to minors. The new California law, AB 2571, bans any advertising that promotes guns in a way that “appears to be attractive to minors.” Violators can be fined up to $25,000.
A number of youth shooting leagues have already shut down or suspended operations after Newsom signed the law in July and it immediately took effect. With fines of up to $25,000 per violation, these non-profits can’t afford to put on a match for junior shooters, which in itself could be seen as a form of marketing to minors; particularly if the event has any sponsors within the firearms industry.
The marketing ban doesn’t just impact the youth shooting sports. It makes it illegal to produce any “firearm-related products in sizes, colors, or designs that are specifically designed to be used by, or appeal to, minors.” That would include firearms themselves. That single shot .22 rifle that I used as my kids’ first introduction to shooting? Illegal under AB 2571, because it’s designed for juveniles.
While we probably won’t hear from the state of California for another few weeks on the most recent lawsuit, today is the deadline for California AG Rob Bonta to submit his brief in response to the first lawsuit filed over AB 2571. A hearing on the plaintiff’s request for an injunction is scheduled to take place on August 22nd, and hopefully the enforcement of the state’s newest gun control law will be halted soon afterwards. This unconstitutional attack on the First and Second Amendment rights of California gun owners is unprecedented in its scope, and utterly worthless when it comes to addressing violent crime, so I’m glad to see a double-barreled legal approach to taking the law off the books and restoring a sliver of sanity to the state’s gun policy.