The Firearms: Advertising to Minors bill (AB 2571) — signed into law in June under an urgency clause, meaning there was no opportunity to negotiate or make amendments — directly impacted the National Wild Turkey Federation’s outreach to its JAKES (Juniors Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics and Sportsmanship) members. The bill’s ambiguity meant the NWTF was not able to meet our obligation of sending JAKES Country magazine to youth members or include youth firearms in banquet auctions. Advertising outreach and recruitment events centered on hunting, hunter education and shooting activities were also prohibited.
“After the bill passed, a coalition of sporting organizations, with the help of Gaines and Associates government relations agency, immediately unified to negotiate with the governor’s office and legislators on language that corrected the unintended consequences from the overly broad language to our outreach, fundraising and mission delivery in California,” said Patt Dorsey, NWTF’s director of conservation operations in the West region. “It was clear that the state’s own outreach and education efforts, as well as those of conservation organizations, were not the intended targets of the ban.”
The corrective language is included in AB 160, an omnibus that addresses a number of public safety issues, and exempts from the ban any advertising that is offering or promoting classes or events related to firearm safety, hunting or sport shooting or promoting membership in any organization.
“We believe the Firearms: Advertising to Minors law is still constitutionally unsound by nature of its restrictions on free speech. A legal challenge filed by other sporting and shooting organizations is still moving forward with the aim of fully repealing it,” Dorsey said. “However, AB 160 allows the NWTF and other organizations to resume our mission delivery and full membership services.”
About the National Wild Turkey Federation
Since 1973, the National Wild Turkey Federation has invested over half a billion dollars into wildlife conservation and has conserved or enhanced over 22 million acres of critical wildlife habitat. The organization continues to drive wildlife conservation, forest resiliency and robust recreational opportunities throughout the U.S. by working across boundaries on a landscape scale. Today, the NWTF is investing heavily in wild turkey research to ensure the future of wild turkey populations and is working to secure Healthy Habitats and Healthy Harvests.