BREAKING: Big Win on AB 2571 Case

September 13, 2023

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision today in the CRPA’s challenge to AB 2571, the law that prohibited the marketing of firearms and related products by members of the firearm industry to minors in California. The law was signed last year as an “ emergency” piece of legislation, and it completely stopped youth shooting sports, youth shooting publications,  hunting, and shooting team recruitment in California. It affected thousands of kids and the safe and responsible youth shooting programs they participate in and benefit from. AB 2571 was quickly amended to try to mitigate some of the most obvious impacts on youth shooting sports programs, but that amendment did not make the law any less unconstitutional. And, in many ways, it made the law more confusing for those working with youth shooters.

CRPA, Second Amendment Foundation, Junior Sports Magazine, California Youth Shooting Sports Association, Redlands California Youth Clay Shooting Sports, Gun Owners of California, and The CRPA Foundation joined together to challenge the unconstitutional law in court. Plaintiffs quickly moved for an injunction against the law so that programs, sponsorships, and youth working on their marksmanship skills could continue while the case was litigated. The lower court denied our request for a preliminary injunction, so the plaintiffs appealed that decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Oral arguments were held before a three-judge panel in June of 2023. Today, the court ruled that the District Court’s denial of plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction was wrong and reversed the lower court’s decision.

The court noted that “because California permits minors under supervision to possess and use firearms for hunting and other lawful activities, Second 22949.80 facially regulates speech that concerns lawful activity and is not misleading.” The court also held that the law “does not directly and materially advance California’s substantial interests in reducing gun violence and the unlawful use of firearms by minors. There was no evidence in the record that a minor in California has ever unlawfully bought a gun, let alone because of an ad.” Finally, the court held that the law was “more extensive than necessary because it swept in truthful ads about lawful use of firearms for adults and minors alike.”

“Although this does not end the case, this is the outcome we were hoping for,” said Chuck Michel, CRPA President and General Counsel. “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.”

The Ninth Circuit panel reversed the denial of the preliminary injunction and sent the issue back down to the district court for further proceedings consistent with its decision. For all of those youth shooting programs out there, this means keep doing what you are doing for now. It takes time for appellate decisions to become final, and the lower court must still issue a final decision on the Plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction. And we do not know if the lower court will want additional information from the parties before ruling.

For now, this is a BIG win for youth shooting! But it is just one step towards getting back to “normal.” Organizations affected by this law should continue operations of programs the same way as if AB 2571 is in place and watch for more information on the ruling coming out of the district court soon.