By Joe Ferronato
On March 10th, Sportsmen’s Alliance, Safari Club and Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation have filed suit in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals after a preliminary injunction was denied by the federal district court to review constitutional issues with California’s new statute.
With the passage of AB 2571 in August of 2022, California made it illegal for companies to market any firearms or firearms-related products to minors. Companies that are charged with an infraction will be faced with civil penalties that amount to $25,000 in fines per occurrence. The law also opens companies to suit from individuals who were harmed by the “marketing” content and want to be reimbursed for damages suffered.
With absurd penalties like this, hunting and outdoor companies have to ensure their marketing is compliant, and hunting programs based on educating youth can also be held to the same scrutiny of the law. That adds yet another barrier to youth hunters getting into the sport. Not to mention outlets like HUNTING and many others have to ensure published materials that enter California, or can be viewed by California residents, are not in violation of the new law.
Now, more than ever, youth hunter recruitment is of paramount importance. Organizations that seek to educate minors on the facts about hunting, and safe and competent firearm handling, are no longer able to do so without incurring huge financial penalties.
“We look forward to the hearing on the preliminary injunction and hope that the 9th Circuit can see its way to understanding how many problems this law creates,” said Todd Adkins, vice president of government affairs at the Sportsmen’s Alliance. “We know Gov. Newsom wants to destroy our hunting heritage by making it impossible to recruit new hunters, but we remain hopeful that the court sees this law for what it is, a law replete with violations of the Constitution that should not survive scrutiny.”
A big fear associated with this law is the precedent that is set if it succeeds and is upheld in court. With other states following suit, these laws could easily spread, effectively barring young hunters around the country from entering the sport, due to a blatant infringement on our rights.
As companies are making changes to advertisements and publications like HUNTING have to adapt content or create California-approved issues, we can only hope to see that the suit filed in the Circuit Court be upheld in the favor of the Constitution.
To learn more about the suit and follow along with the Sportsmen’s Alliance’s fight to ensure our lifestyle and hunting heritage lives on, visit their website and sign up.
The Essentials Gear Box.
Our editors have hand-picked these essential pieces of gear to make you a more successful hunter when you hit the game trails this season.