Attorneys for the Second Amendment Foundation and several partners have filed a federal lawsuit for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief in a case challenging the constitutionality of a California law prohibiting gun shops, sporting goods stores, and any “firearm industry member” from advertising, marketing or arranging for placement “any firearm-related product in a manner that is designed, intended, or reasonably appears to be attractive to minors.”
It is a First Amendment case known as Junior Sports Magazine, Inc., et al, v. Bonta. Joining SAF in the motion are the California Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc., the CRPA Foundation, Gun Owners of California, Turner’s Outdoors, Inc., California Youth Shooting Sports Foundation, Redlands California Youth Clay Shooting Sports, Inc., and two private citizens.
The statute in question—identified as AB 2571 throughout the complaint and signed into law June 30—clearly focuses on any “firearm industry member” in its prohibition, which violates not only the First Amendment, but also the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause, plaintiffs contend.
“The First Amendment protects commercial speech that promotes legal products and services,” noted SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “You simply cannot single out people engaged in a legal business enterprise and forbid them from advertising or promoting their products just because you don’t like them. That’s what this case is all about.”
While the law prohibits pro-gun advertising and display, the suit notes, “AB 2571 does not, however, prohibit anti-gun organizations not ‘formed for the express purpose of promoting, encouraging, or advocating for the purchase, use, or ownership of firearm-related products,’ like Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, Gun Free Kids, and Everytown for Gun Safety, from offering and soliciting youth memberships or using branded merchandise, like hats, t-shirts, stuffed animals, coloring and activity books, stickers, pins, and buttons, bearing anti-gun messages and slogans—or even images of unlawful firearms—to spread their political messages, promote their organizations, or solicit memberships and/or financial support.”
“It’s clearly a double standard codified into law that cannot be allowed to stand,” Gottlieb said. “We’re determined to see that it doesn’t.”