Appeals court strikes down California law barring gun advertisements: "Cannot straitjacket the First Amendment"
· Sep 19, 2023 ·

California's attempt to do an end-run around the first two amendments to the Constitution is not looking good, thank goodness:

A California law ostensibly aimed at restricting the marketing of firearms to minors infringes on the free speech rights of adults, according to a three-judge panel on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.


The ruling vacated a lower decision that denied an injunction to pro-gun and pro-free speech advocates.

The law was written ostensibly to prohibit advertisements that might be "attractive to minors." But the appeals court found that the rule was written too broadly and could end up censoring protected speech:

There is no evidence in the record that a minor in California has ever unlawfully bought a gun, let alone because of an ad. Nor has the state produced any evidence that truthful ads about lawful uses of guns — like an ad about hunting rifles in Junior Sports Magazines' Junior Shooters — encourage illegal or violent gun use among minors.

The court accused the state of "lean[ing] on gossamers of speculation to weave an evidence-free narrative" in order to further its anti-gun ambitions.

The state had argued that it was permitted to regulate the advertisements due to the broader latitude that lawmakers are given over commercial speech. Yet such rules must be "sufficiently tailored" to avoid First Amendment violations, the court noted, and California just did not do that.

The state may undertake such a law, the court said, only if it can "show that such an intrusion into the First Amendment will significantly further the state's interest in curtailing unlawful and violent use of firearms by minors."

Somehow I doubt California will be able to do that.

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