Court Rules Against CA Gun Advertisement Law

( – California lawmakers thought they’d found a clever new way to sneak in gun control by the back door — instead of stopping people from owning guns, they’d stop manufacturers from advertising them. Unfortunately for them, a federal court just shot down their new law. It turns out you can’t attack Second Amendment rights by violating First Amendment ones.

In early July, ultra-liberal California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) signed a new law that bans gun ads allegedly aimed at children. Although children can’t actually buy guns, Newsom claimed the law was necessary because the Supreme Court was rolling back “important gun safety precautions.” However, the law immediately faced legal challenges.

On July 7, Junior Sports Magazines Inc., the California Rifle & Pistol Association, the Second Amendment Foundation, and other groups filed a lawsuit against California Attorney General Bob Bonta. The suit alleged that the state was violating an array of rights including free speech, commercial speech, and free association, and claimed the ad ban was unconstitutional.

On September 13, the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with them. A panel of three judges unanimously agreed that the law is probably unconstitutional, Judge Kenneth K Lee wrote that while the ban has a worthwhile aim, “the First Amendment demands more than good intentions and wishful thinking to warrant the government’s muzzling of speech.” 

He explained that California law allows minors to use guns legally under adult supervision, and therefore the state can’t restrict free speech by banning ads about a legal activity unless it can show the ban would “significantly further the state’s interest” in reducing gun violence perpetrated by minors. He added that there’s no evidence a minor has ever unlawfully bought a gun in California — and if there isn’t actually a problem to solve, Newsom isn’t allowed to impose a constitutionally doubtful solution. 

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