The NSSF is the official trade organization of the firearm industry and for shooting sports as a whole. After all, the two interests are inevitably locked to one another. You can’t take up skeet shooting, for example, if you can’t buy shotguns, which requires a shotgun manufacturer.
So the NSSF has to stand for the Second Amendment. Otherwise, the things it’s meant to defend will go away.
To say they are less than pleased by the measures that seek to restrict marketing.
And NSSF’s Larry Keane is firing back.
California and Illinois laws that have banned advertising lawmakers in those two states consider to be targeted at minors doesn’t have anything to do with increasing public safety. It doesn’t have anything to do with fighting the criminal misuse of firearms. The laws are intended to do one thing – convince the next generation of Americans that the Second Amendment doesn’t exist.
Lawmakers in those two states passed, and Govs. Gavin Newsom and J.B. Pritzker signed, laws that ban firearm-related advertising that could be attractive or be considered to target children. NSSF has filed legal challenges to both laws in California and Illinois. Those laws violate not only the First Amendment-protected right of commercial speech but also work to eliminate the Second Amendment from the conversation with the next generation of gun owners and outdoorsmen and women. These lawmakers believe that if they can erase imagery and advertising that shows youth learning safe and responsible firearm ownership and ethical hunting traditions, the next generation will never understand that the Second Amendment is their right to exercise when they become of legal age to purchase firearms on their own.
If the next generation of Americans don’t learn about Second Amendment freedoms, they won’t know. If they don’t know, gun control politicians would have an easier avenue by which to eliminate the right altogether. It’s a devious plan and one the firearm industry is fighting against.
Public schools in this country often present a pretty biased view of the Second Amendment. Even if they don’t, they present a limited one. They don’t really teach kids what those rights mean.
That’s typically been left up to the families.
Youth shooting sports are an outlet that has long served as the gateway to adult gun ownership for many.
“But this isn’t about those activities,” some might claim, even as California has already been impacted in just that way.
Look, you can claim it’s not about youth shooting sports all you want, but that’s about the only ones really marketing to kids in any meaningful way.
Gun companies cannot sell firearms to children. They have to sell them to adults according to federal law. They can make guns for kids and have for generations, but they can only sell them to adults.
So why would anyone market guns to kids? The simple answer is that they don’t.
What’s more, these lawmakers likely know that.
The restrictions the NSSF is taking issue with really are about trying to prevent the next generation of Second Amendment supporters from rising up. It’s about making it so youth shooting is far less likely to happen.
But I’ve got bad news for California and Illinois.
Youth shooting isn’t going anywhere. Youth models of firearms are going to be bought and sold. They’ll be handed to young shooters who are then guided through learning marksmanship and/or taken hunting for the very first time.
The gun culture will continue in spite of your best efforts.
We’re not going anywhere and our kids will be stepping up as older gun owners die off.
If this is meant to silence us, to put an end to gun rights supporters as part of the long game, someone is going to be very disappointed.
But that doesn’t mean laws like these shouldn’t fall and fall hard. They most definitely should because everything about them is wrong.