Illinois anti-gun marketing law is legally vulnerable

AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane

Illinois now has its anti-gun marketing law. The bill was passed and signed, thus basically banning all kinds of supposed marketing toward kids and extremists, neither of which were really being marketed to in the first place.


However, these laws have quashed shooting sports efforts to reach kids in other states, which is kind of the point.

Unsurprisingly, the NSSF has already filed suit. Cam will also have NSSF’s Mark Oliva on Cam & Company today to talk about it.

Yet even as the lawsuit was being filed, some were already discussing just how vulnerable the new law actually is.

Robert Bevis of firearm manufacturer and retailer Law Weapons in Naperville said the measure is another example of an infringement.

“Automobile manufacturers are not responsible for people that drive drunk and crash their cars,” Bevis said. “We can’t be held responsible for the way somebody uses a firearm if it’s in a nefarious way.”

Gun rights advocate Todd Vandermyde testified against the bill during spring session. The Aurora Sportsmen’s Club Vandermyde is a member of is set to host a family event with “a lot of minors that show up to that event with their families and do shooting.”

“The question is does that marketing somehow bring our gun club into being sued just because,” he said.

Saturday, Vandermyde alleged the measure violates rights on several levels.

“You’ve got the right to assemble, you’ve got our free speech rights, you’ve got our Second Amendment rights,” Vandermyde said.

All of these are things that are likely to come up in discussion of this anti-marketing law because it’s true.

However, we also need to remember what these bills are actually about. It’s not that Illinois or any other state really thinks the marketing of firearms somehow contributes to their misuse. No one with two brain cells to rub against one another thinks that.


What this is about is that federal law prevents lawsuits against gun manufacturers who are engaged in the lawful trade of firearms. So long as they don’t break the law, or act in a negligent manner. In other words, if your gun blows up because they screwed up, you can sue them, or you can file a lawsuit if they sold a gun to someone and shipped it directly to them and they use that gun to shoot you or a family member.

That’s it.

Following Sandy Hook, anti-gunners figured they found a way around that by calling the marketing negligent.

Then you had the JR-15 come about–it’s a youth model of firearm, which is nothing new–and then you get a situation where suddenly marketing is the big boogieman for anti-gun forces.

But the truth is that marketing is still free speech, which is why I’m not sure these laws are going to survive. Companies are really just a group of people. The courts have ruled they essentially have the same rights as people, too.

As such, I can’t help but believe that the NSSF’s lawsuit is going to lower the boom on Illinois and the days of these laws are going to be short-lived.

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