New California gun law meant to protect minors has unintended consequences

At barely 16 years old, Lola Fitzgerald is a four-time skeet shooting All-American winner, a 3 time Junior World Champion and a four-time California State Lady Champ in skeet shooting. She's also hoping to qualify for the Olympics.

Since the passage of Assembly Bill 2571, which California passed on June 30 of this year, her life has changed. The law prohibits gun marketing to minors in the state, which has become a nightmare for Lola and her father, Jay. 

He says she has been cut off from some of the national youth groups, is no longer receiving emails from the National Skeet Shooting Association, which is a critical source of information about qualifying meets, and much more. 

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Colleges are no longer reaching out to offer her skeet shooting scholarships, and some coaches are afraid to include California teens in their programs, for fear of being subject to hefty fines outlined in the bill. Organizations are so afraid to expose themselves to liability that they are purging their email lists and access from California minors.

"It’s true, we are impacted," says Sherri Kerr, Director of Communications at the National Skeet Shooting Association and National Sporting Clays Association, sent us the statement they shared with their members, which says in part that "NSSA-NSCA must cease all advertising and marketing activities directed at individuals 17 years and younger in California." The organization's Executive Director, Michael Hampton, adds that thousands of minors involved in any gun handling sport are affected.

Owners at several local gun stores told FOX 11 over the phone that they're afraid to even put out sample junior guns, which they carry and label with bright pink markers. 

Last week, several organizations including the California Youth Shooting Sports Association filed a lawsuit against the State’s Attorney General over AB 2571. The Fitzgeralds refused to be part of the lawsuit but did write a declaration supporting their request for a preliminary injunction.

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In response to our inquiries, Rob Bonta’s press office sent FOX 11 a statement saying that a preliminary injunction is due on August 8, and that they "will respond in court." 

California Gov. Gavin Newsom's office also responded to FOX 11's request for comment, saying, "We do not understand AB 2571 to be intended to prohibit marketing educational classes, competitive events or soliciting membership in youth organizations."

Lola says it’s very frustrating. She wasn’t able to apply to go to what would have been one of the first out-of-state meets to qualify for the Olympics and says she can’t even log into the websites to check for other competitions to check her scores or get newsletters with vital information.

"It’s a sport, like soccer," she said, adding that she’d love to sit down with whoever is behind this law and have "a friendly conversation about the sport and the wonderful people in it… maybe even teach them to shoot so they could see how much fun, and safe, it can be."