California bill targeting gun advertising meant to target children


The bill, AB 2571, is discussed here; the discussion is about a proposed narrower version of the bill (the official, wider draft is here). I just testified this morning against the bill; I was limited to two minutes, so the oral testimony should only touch on the main points (I plan to collect more detailed written testimony later):

I think even the bill as proposed to be amended would be unconstitutional, for three reasons.

[1.] This would cover fully protected political speech, not just commercial advertising. A gun magazine publisher, for example – or a gun advocacy group that publishes a magazine – would likely be considered a “member of the gun industry” because they were trained to advocate the use or possession of firearms, might endorse specific products in product reviews. , and may carry firearms advertising. This publisher or advocacy group would be prohibited from using cartoon characters, even in its fully protected political advertising inciting the possession of firearms.

[2.] Even when it comes to commercial advertising, the law is unconstitutionally vague: it covers all advertisements that are “appealing to minors,” even if they are also appealing to legal adult buyers. And the specific examples do not solve the problem of vagueness: they are listed only as examples, preceded by the phrase “including, but not limited to”.

[3.] And the law also covers commercial advertising protected by the Constitution, such as the use of caricatures of minors or cartoon characters in advertisements clearly aimed at adults who legally buy firearms that their children could use for legal hunting. or target shooting. Indeed, California law expressly permits parents to have their children use firearms in this manner under parental supervision. Parents may very well wish to purchase firearms for their children to use for these purposes.

Here are the relevant excerpts from the proposal:

[This bill p]provides that a member of the firearms industry shall not advertise, market, or arrange for the placement of any advertising or marketing communication regarding any firearms-related product in a manner that is designed , intended or appears reasonably appealing to minors.

[The bill r]requires a court, in determining whether the marketing or advertising of a firearm-related product is appealing to minors, to consider all of the circumstances, including, but not limited to, whether the marketing or The advertisement :

a) Uses caricatures that reasonably appear to be minors or cartoon characters to promote gun-related products.

b) Offers underage branded products, including but not limited to hats, t-shirts or other apparel, toys, games, stuffed animals, that promote a member of the firearms or firearms-related product industry.

c) Offers firearms-related products in sizes, colors or designs specifically designed for use by minors or to attract minors.

d) Is part of a marketing or advertising campaign designed to attract minors.

e) Uses images or depictions of minors in advertising and marketing materials to illustrate the use of firearms-related products.

f) Is placed in a publication created for the purpose of reaching an audience consisting primarily of minors and not intended for a more general audience of adults….

“Firearms Industry Member” means any of the following:

i) A person, firm, corporation, corporation, partnership, corporation, corporation or any other entity or association engaged in the manufacture, distribution, import, marketing, wholesale or retailer of firearms-related products.

(ii) A person, firm, corporation, corporation, partnership, corporation, corporation, or other entity or association formed for the express purpose of promoting, encouraging, or advocating the purchase, use or ownership of firearms-related products that does any of the following:

A) Announcement of firearm related products.

B) Announcement of events where firearm related products are sold or used.

C) Approves specific firearm related products.

D) Sponsors or otherwise promotes events at which firearms-related products are sold or used.


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