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Governor Newsom Signs AB 2571 into Law
What You Need to Know

This past week before the California legislature adjourned for their summer recess, Governor Newsom signed AB 2571: Firearms: advertising to minors into law. This unconstitutional law is aimed at “gun” advertising that supposedly targets children.

Specifically, it is now a crime for a “firearm industry member” to use “advertising, marketing, or arranging for placement” of communication concerning any “firearm-related product” in a manner that is designed, intended, or reasonably appears to be “attractive” to minors punishable up to $25,000.

The new law lays out how the authorities will determine whether or not an advertisement is “attractive” to minors with the following circumstances:

(1), a court shall consider the totality of the circumstances, including, but not limited to, whether the marketing or advertising:
(A) Uses caricatures that reasonably appear to be minors or cartoon characters to promote firearm-related products.
(B) Offers brand name merchandise for minors, including, but not limited to, hats, t-shirts, or other clothing, or toys, games, or stuffed animals, that promotes a firearm industry member or firearm-related product.
(C) Offers firearm-related products in sizes, colors, or designs that are specifically designed to be used by, or appeal to, minors.
(D) Is part of a marketing or advertising campaign designed with the intent to appeal to minors.
(E) Uses images or depictions of minors in advertising and marketing materials to depict the use of firearm-related products.
(F) Is placed in a publication created for the purpose of reaching an audience that is predominately composed of minors and not intended for a more general audience composed of adults.

The law defines “firearm related product” as:

“Firearm-related product” means a firearm, ammunition, reloaded ammunition, a firearm precursor part, a firearm component, or a firearm accessory that meets any of the following conditions:
    (A) The item is sold, made, or distributed in California.
    (B) The item is intended to be sold or distributed in California.
    (C) It is reasonably foreseeable that the item would be sold or possessed in California.
    (D) Marketing or advertising for the item is directed to residents of California.

“Firearm industry member” is defined as the following:

    (A) A person, firm, corporation, company, partnership, society, joint stock company, or any other entity or association engaged in the manufacture, distribution, importation, marketing, wholesale, or retail sale of firearm-related products.
    (B) A person, firm, corporation, company, partnership, society, joint stock company, or any other entity or association formed for the express purpose of promoting, encouraging, or advocating for the purchase, use, or ownership of firearm-related products that does one of the following:
      (i) Advertises firearm-related products.
      (ii) Advertises events where firearm-related products are sold or used.
     (iii) Endorses specific firearm-related products. 
     (iv) Sponsors or otherwise promotes events at which firearm-related products are sold or used.

Your NSSF® Government relations team fought tooth and nail against this egregious bill including testifying in the State Assembly and State Senate, but the Democrat Supermajority was hell bent on carrying the water for a Governor who is putting personal national political aspirations above the United States Constitution.

Specifically, your trade industry testified on record that this bill was unconstitutional on the following grounds:

  • It would cover fully protected political speech, not just commercial advertising. A gun magazine publisher, for instance—or a gun advocacy group that publishes a magazine—would likely be covered as a "firearm industry member," because it was formed to advocate for use or ownership of guns, might endorse specific products in product reviews, and might carry advertising for guns. That publisher or advocacy group would be forbidden from using cartoon characters even in its fully protected political advertising urging gun ownership.
  • Even as to commercial advertising, the law is unconstitutionally vague: It covers any ads that are "attractive to minors," even if they are equally attractive to legal adult buyers. And the specific examples don't resolve the vagueness problem: They are only listed as examples, prefixed with the phrase "including, but not limited to."
  • And the law also covers constitutionally protected commercial advertising, such as the use of caricatures of minors or cartoon characters in ads that are clearly targeted at adults who lawfully buy guns that their children could use for legal hunting or target shooting. Indeed, California law expressly allows parents to have their children use guns this way under parental supervision. Parents may well wish to buy guns for their children to use for these purposes.
NSSF is currently evaluating legal remedies and will continue to fight this and the multitude of other pieces of legislation designed to destroy our industry in California this year. Make no mistake the situation in California is dire, the politicians in Sacramento no longer care about Constitutional rights and are hell bent on passing as many anti-firearm pieces of legislation that they can.

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