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Ninth Circuit Rules Against CA Ban on Gun Ads Aimed At Minors

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled there is no evidence that a California ban on firearm advertisements aimed at minors would achieve its purported goal of reducing illegal gun use and violence among young people, Courthouse News Service reports. A three-judge panel on Wednesday overruled a lower court judge who had declined to issue a preliminary injunction against enforcement of the statute in a lawsuit brought by Junior Sports Magazine and Second Amendment advocates. Because California allows youths to use firearms under adult supervision, such as for hunting and target practice, the case involved whether the state can ban a truthful advertisement about firearms used legally by adults and minors only because the ad “reasonably appears to be attractive to minors,” said Circuit Judge Kenneth Lee. The First Amendment only allows states to ban truthful and lawful advertising if it materially and directly advances a substantial government interest, such as reducing gun violence, and is no more extensive than necessary, Lee said.

In addition, Lee said the California law was too broad because it would also ban firearm ads aimed at adults just because they might be appealing to children as well. “Although this does not end the case, this is the outcome we were hoping for,” said Chuck Michel of the California Rifle & Pistol Association. “(Governor) Newsom’s efforts to eliminate youth shooting activities, hunting, and the next generation of Second Amendment advocates who understand their rights has been stopped again. This is another example of legislative overreach and the politicians' willingness to trample on constitutional rights.” Anna Barvir, an attorney for Junior Sports Magazines, had argued that the California law was “hopelessly over-inclusive” and vague and that it was driven by animosity toward people who exercise their constitutional right to own firearms. The law was passed in 2022 among a raft of gun legislation prompted in part by the increase of gun violence, including school shootings, among children both in California and nationwide. Gun violence is now the third leading cause of death for children and teens in California, according to the state, and firearm-related injuries have surpassed car crashes as the leading cause of death among children and adolescents nationwide.


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