Several pro-gun groups filed a lawsuit Friday to stop Gov. Newsom’s attempt to put an end to youth shooting and shooting sports.
AB 2571 authored by Assemblywoman Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (D-Orinda), and sponsored by Governor Gavin Newsom, and passed entirely along party lines, outlaws firearm industry members from advertising or marketing firearm-related products to minors.
Gov. Newsom just signed AB 2571 into law June 30th, only to have the lawsuit filed to halt this legislation a week later.
“Today CRPA, Second Amendment Foundation, Gun Owners of California, and others are standing up to Newsom and his propaganda. These groups filed a lawsuit (below) to stop the further implementation of this unconstitutional law and are seeking an immediate injunction to block the law from taking effect.”
According to bill analysis, “AB 2571 Prohibits firearm industry members from marketing or advertising firearm-related products to minors and authorizes public attorneys and injured plaintiffs to bring a civil action to enforce the prohibition, obtain injunctive relief, and seek either civil penalties, or, in some cases, damages for harms caused by a violation.”
According to the lawsuit, AB 2571 “violates rights protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments,” “well-established free speech precedents of the U.S. Supreme Court,” and, “it also violates their right to equal protection under the law.”
“This new law impacts Associations, Camps, Clubs, FFLs, Hunter Education, Instructors, Firearms Trainers, Youth Organizations, ranges, and those who work in association with any youth shooting program — including firearm safety training. Any promotion of firearms to those under 18 years of age may lead to hefty fines of $25,000 per incident,” the California Rifle and Pistol Association (CPRA) said in a statement Friday.
“This law is a clear First Amendment violation of speech and assembly. It’s really an attempt to wipe out the next generation of hunters and shooters,” said CRPA President and General Counsel Chuck Michel. “Politicians in Sacramento are not even trying to hide their disdain for the ‘gun culture,’ which they neither understand nor support. They want to wipe it out.”
The plaintiffs note in the lawsuit that “An offer to sell firearms or ammunition” is constitutionally protected commercial speech.
Yet the bill authorizes two types of civil actions to enforce compliance with its provisions, bill analysis explains. “First, the Attorney General or any district attorney, county counsel, or city attorney would be authorized to bring a civil action in any court, to seek a civil penalty.”
This bill focuses on advertising and marketing materials that are promulgated by a narrowly defined group of commercial speakers – the firearm industry – rather than on publishers, or even advertisers, in general, the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit also says “unequal treatment occurs in the context of exercising a fundamental right, or the government is motivated by animus toward a disfavored group,” and warns current California law purports to otherwise prohibit minors from possessing handguns and semiautomatic centerfire rifles (and beginning July 1, 2023, any type of firearm).
“But the exceptions to these restrictions are numerous and non-exhaustive. Common to all of the exceptions is that the minor be engaged in, or be in direct transit to or from, “a lawful, recreational sport” which includes, “but is not limited to, competitive shooting, or agricultural, ranching, or hunting activity or hunting education, or a motion picture, television, or video production, or entertainment or theatrical event, the nature of which involves the use of a firearm.”
The lawsuit says AB 2571 only applies to marketing guns to minors, but does not apply to book, movie, television, and video game industries from “advertising, marketing, or arranging for the placement of an advertising or marketing communication concerning any firearm-related product” – Just to marketing to minors under the age of 18, and “to (politically unpopular) organizations formed to promote and preserve the Second Amendment rights. ”
“With the Supreme Court affirming that the Second Amendment has teeth and prohibits government infringement, now is the time for a long overdue SECOND AMENDMENT RECKONING,” the CRPA said. “Gun owners must support litigation efforts and groups like CRPA, GOC, and SAF that fight for your rights, and have been for decades. There are LOTS of lawsuits to be filed as we fight back against the BLUE RESISTANCE to the Second Amendment.”
Democrats want to be able to tell Americans that you can’t defend yourself with a firearm, and attempt to put this into action in legislation nibbling around the edges of the 2nd Amendment, restricting gun ownership rights. Fortunately, they were recently rebuked by the highest court in the land.
The Supreme Court in June issued a decision striking down a New York gun law that puts unconstitutional restrictions on concealed carry of a gun out in public. Gun carry permit applicants were required to provide justification or “proper cause,” for why they had to defend themselves, rather than just general self defense.
The Globe will follow this lawsuit closely and report any updates.