Skip to main content

Crime

New California laws prohibit firearm marketing to minors, target ghost guns

Adding to its catalog of some of the nation’s toughest gun laws, California will prohibit the gun industry from advertising firearms to minors under a new law signed last week

A new California law will target marketing firearms to minors
A new California law will target marketing firearms to minors | Shutterstock

July 5, 2022 2:45pm

Updated: July 6, 2022 11:45am

Adding to its catalog of some of the nation’s toughest gun laws, California will prohibit the gun industry from advertising firearms to minors under a new law signed last week.

Under the new law, firearm industry members are prohibited from advertising or marketing guns, ammunition or firearm precursor parts made or distributed in California “in a manner that is designed, intended, or reasonably appears to be attractive to minors.” According to the bill, this includes marketing or advertising that uses “caricatures that reasonably appear to be minors or cartoon characters to promote firearm-related products” and firearm products that come in sizes and colors designed to be used by minors.

Members of the gun industry who violate the law will face a civil penalty of up to $25,000 for each violation. The bill will also allow a person harmed by the violation to bring a civil action to recover damages, according to the bill.

The bill was signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday.

“From our schools to our parks to our homes, our kids deserve to be safe – in California, we’re making that a reality,” Newsom said in a statement Friday. “As the Supreme Court rolls back important gun safety protections and states across the country treat gun violence as inevitable, California is doubling down on common sense gun safety measures that save lives.”

The signing of the bill comes weeks after Newsom and lawmakers vowed to move quickly on several pieces of gun legislation in the aftermath of the elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas in May.

Lawmakers sent a package of several gun control bills to Newsom’s desk last week before leaving for summer recess.

The bill addressing firearm marketing to minors was one of two gun measures that took effect immediately upon Newsom’s signature. The second measure signed into law targets unserialized weapons, also known as “ghost guns.”

Under the new law, any person possessing an unserialized weapon must apply to the Department of Justice for serial numbers before Jan. 1, 2024. Newcomers to the state will be required to request an identification mark for unserialized firearms within 60 days of arrival, according to the bill.

The bill also adds to an existing California gun law that prohibits a person convicted of certain misdemeanors from possessing a gun for 10 years after conviction. Under the new law, a misdemeanor violation for manufacturing a ghost gun or “aiding or abetting” the manufacture of a firearm by a prohibited person will be included in the 10-year prohibition beginning Jan. 1, 2023.

The bill was opposed by the California Rifle & Pistol Association, which wrote in an opposition statement that if the bill passed “it will result in unnecessary and costly lawsuits and task DOJ with even more unnecessary time-consuming mandates.” The association also called it an “unconstitutional restriction on lawful conduct.”

The bill’s author, Assemblymember Mike Gipson, D-Carson, said in a statement Friday that the “proliferation of ghost guns, which are intentionally untraceable weapons to evade law enforcement, has only worsened the issue” of gun violence. He praised the governor for an “unwavering commitment to eradicate the rampant wildfire of gun violence currently ravaging our streets and safe-havens.”