A California law that bans advertisements for the sale of handguns is, according to several Golden State gun retailers, unconstitutional.
California Penal Code Section 26820, which was first enacted in 1923, prevents gun store owners like Michael Baryla of Tracy’s Rifle & Pistol in San Joaquin County from using advertisements for handguns. Baryla, along with three other gun stores in the state, are claiming that the law banning the display of handgun advertisements is unconstitutional.
But not in the way you may think.
Baryla claims that it’s his First Amendment rights, not Second, that are being violated.
“I run one of the most heavily regulated and inspected businesses in existence,” Baryla told Fox News. “But it’s still illegal for me to show customers that I sell handguns until after they walk in the door.”
A federal lawsuit, which was filed on Monday November 10th in the Eastern District of California, names both California Attorney General Kamala Harris and head of the California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Firearms Stephen Lindley. Eugene Volokh, a UCLA law professor, legal blogger and member of the legal team also told Fox News that the gun retailers have a strong case.
“You simply can’t restrict speech because some people find it offensive,” Volokh said. “That’s true with flag burning, and it’s true in advertising.”
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Pending the outcome of the suit, Baryla has until February to remove the ads from his store’s windows.
Whats your take? Should retailers be banned from publicly advertising the sale of handguns? Tell us what you via email, social media or in the comment section below.