Source: East County Today
Sacramento, CA – At a press conference Friday in San Diego, Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (D-Orinda), joined Governor Gavin Newsom, Attorney General Rob Bonta and others in announcing the introduction of AB 2571. AB 2571 seeks to restrict the malicious and manipulative firearms marketing geared towards children and youth. This bill comes at a time where California has experienced a collision of two major public health crises over the past years: COVID-19 and gun violence.
“California is a leader and one of the states with the strongest gun laws, it is remarkable that we still allow the marketing of weapons of war to our children” said Assemblymember Bauer-Kahan, “Your children, my three kids, have a right to live long, happy lives, free of gun violence.”
Gun violence has been cited as the third leading cause of death for Californian children and youth between ages 1-17. Approximately 3 million children are directly exposed to gun violence each year- at home, at school, in their communities, and social media. Exposure to gun violence has resulted in children’s injuries, emotional trauma, and death.
The gun industry has targeted a younger audience through children’s books, mascots, apparel, and guns adorned in cartoons and brightly colored logos to appeal specifically to children and youth. Firearm companies have expanded to advertising on social media platforms to connect youth to their gun selling websites. These platforms include YouTube, Twitter, social media influencers, and streaming services that children and youth disproportionately frequent.
The last time any attempts to regulate firearm marketing was in 2014 through the unsuccessful passage of the federal Children’s Firearm Marketing Safety Act. Since then, gun violence by and affecting children has skyrocketed – in 2021 alone there were approximately 259 unintentional shootings by children, resulting in 104 deaths and 168 injuries.
AB 2571 will limit the type of advertising and marketing geared towards children and youth.
“Gun manufacturers are responsible for the killings that result from their marketing of guns specifically to our children- the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary being one of the most egregious examples of this. Gun manufacturers target kids with everything from children’s books about guns to special smaller weapons to make it easier for them to hold and shoot. The gun manufacturers are targeting our children to maximize profits, without any concern for the countless lives lost by children to gun violence” said Assemblymember Bauer-Kahan, “Taking away this tool of violent indoctrination from the gun industry is a vital step to ending the cycle of gun violence and protecting California’s kids.”
At the press conference, Governor Newsom noted, “I have no issue with guns or gun owners. I have serious issues with gun violence. I have serious issues with a company that thinks it’s okay to market a JR-15 modeled after a weapon of war, an AR-15 that took the lives of 20 precious first graders and six adults at Sandy Hook, and to promote it with a skull and bone and a pacifier. How the hell do they think that’s okay”? “Selling stickers, t-shirts, and hats marketing not a toy gun, but a JR-15, to start them early.”
AB 2571 now awaits assignment to committee.