CA's gun law hurting youth hunting, shooting sports

(Brian Gehring /The Bismarck Tribune via AP, File)

Youth shooting sports yield tremendous benefits for our society. Among other things, it teaches respect for firearms. Those who actively participate in such programs rarely end up misusing firearms.

However, a law in California banning the “marketing” of firearms to kids–in reality, it’s a ban on marketing that kids might like–is creating problems.

It’s hurting those youth shooting sports.

A new California gun control law geared towards “stopping” firearms advertising to minors is already having a negative impact on youth shooting sports and hunting in the Golden State.

In June, the legislature approved Assembly Bill 2571—a bill allegedly aimed at stopping gun violence in response to the horrific Uvalde, Texas, mass shooting.

AB 2571 prohibits “a firearm industry member, as defined, from advertising or marketing any firearm-related product, as defined, in a manner that is designed, intended, or reasonably appears to be attractive to minors.” If anyone is found in violation of the statute, the civil penalty is $25,000 for each violation.

Governor Gavin Newsom (D-CA) proudly signed the bill into law and declared, “Those who are backing this industry can no longer market to our children. The idea that we even have to do this is ridiculous.”

“This law by the way goes into effect immediately. Because decent human beings, people with common sense, know that we should not be allowing this kind of disgusting marketing to go on another day.”

Additionally, The Reload revealed a youth shooting sports league has ceased operations altogether, citing the new anti-marketing bill.

It reports, “The California State High School Clay Target League (CASHCTL) folded last week following passage of Assembly Bill 2571, which imposes $25,000 civil fines on “firearm industry members” advertising “any firearms-related product” in a way that could be seen as “appealing to minors.” The statewide league, which operated under the nonprofit USA Clay Target League, has removed everything on the site except a message saying it was “forced by law to suspend all operations.””

Now, challenges are ongoing and we can hope that the courts will recognize this law for the nonsense that it is, but in the meantime, millions of kids will miss out on the opportunity to take part in shooting sports.

And I can’t help but believe most of those who supported the legislation are crying about it.

I won’t say this was the goal, mind you. I think the focus on marketing was more in response to the JR-15 more than anything else.

However, they don’t mind the collateral damage, either.

People who take part in shooting sports as children are far more likely to value their Second Amendment rights as adults, regardless of where they fall on the political spectrum otherwise, after all. As such, I can’t imagine any of the people who support this measure are going to complain if it hurts youth shooting sports.

That’s short-sighted, though.

After all, as I noted previously, those same activities teach people how to handle a firearm responsibly. They learn as kids, keeping that knowledge through adulthood. They learn to respect guns and to recognize them as dangerous if misused.

As a result, they’re less likely to misuse firearms themselves, either intentionally or through ignorance.

That would make California safer. Then again, if that were what California lawmakers were really after, they’d stop going after the lawful ownership of guns.