Effective July 1, the California legislature enacted AB 2571, which prohibits certain marketing or advertising of firearms to minors.
-The law states that a “firearm industry member shall not advertise, market, or arrange for placement of an advertising or marketing communication concerning any firearm-related product in a manner that is designed, intended, or reasonably appears to be attractive to minors.”
- -The law defines “marketing or advertising” to include (among other things) communications that encourage recipients to use the product or service.
- -The law defines “firearm-related product” to include (among other things) firearms, ammunition, and shooting-related accessories.
- -The law defines “firearm industry member” to include (among other things) organizations that promote or advocate for the use of firearms which advertise or promote events where firearm-related products are sold or used.
The law gives the following examples as considerations for a court to determine if marketing or advertising is attractive to minors. This is not an exhaustive list, and a court could potentially find that other conduct falls under the ban.
- -Use of caricatures of minors or cartoon characters
- -Offering firearms-brand merchandise for minors (shirts, hats, toys, etc.)
- -Offering firearm-related products in sizes, colors, or designs targeted at minors
- -Use of a marketing or advertising campaign designed with the intent to appeal to minors
- -Use of images of minors using firearm-related products
- -Placing firearm-related advertising in a publication created for an audience predominately composed of minors
The law creates a penalty of up to $25,000 “for each violation,” and authorizes a “person harmed by a violation” to bring a lawsuit to “recover their actual damages.”
Because this law is written broadly, organizations like SCI and its chapters, which promote youth hunting and shooting and hold events where firearms are used or sold—like youth hunts and even fundraising banquets and convention—may fall under the definition of “firearm industry member.”
Further, the marketing or advertising for events involving minors where firearms are used—such as youth hunts or hunter education—may fall under its ban.
SCI is aware of some groups canceling youth hunting or shooting events out of concern that marketing the events will violate this law. SCI has removed images of youth with firearms and included a warning for California residents are excluded on its youth hunting and youth membership websites.
SCI has joined with partner organizations to challenge the law in court. But until the law is enjoined,
SCI chapters in or near California should avoid conduct that might suggest they are
marketing or advertising the use of firearms to minors.
Please contact SCI’s attorneys at [email protected] with questions about the law or lawsuit.