In California, the price of a pistol or rifle is a taboo question following the legal imposition of state laws regarding gun advertising to lower gun sales.
However, gun dealers are legally challenging the laws, saying that it waives the businesses’ rights to the First Amendment.
“The First Amendment prevents the government from telling businesses it disfavors that they can’t engage in truthful advertising,” said Bradley Benbrook, the lead attorney on a legal team that also includes UCLA Law Professor Eugene Volokh.
Their lawsuit had been filed on Monday in the Eastern District of California in Sacramento.
Professor Volokh had been a blogger on social matters. He said that the gun dealers have a very 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.”
He mentions exceptions for hardcore pornography, which is banned from display in public places. Gun advertisements notifying the public that the items are on sale are constitutionally protected, he argues.
“Some people are more upset by handguns than rifles and shotguns, I think in part, because the bulk of crime committed with guns involves handguns,” Volkh said. “But speech does not lose its protection simply because some find it offensive.”