California Law forces out Kids' Shooting Sports League
The California State High School Clay Target League is no more, following a new law that threatens a $25,000 fine for getting youth involved in the shooting sports.
The non-profit USA High School Clay Target League, which controlled and ran the CASHSCTL, announced this week that it has suspended all operations within California. This includes offering any future seasons for teams to participate in, shutting down the state league’s website and Facebook pages, and halting emails to anyone in the state. Further, student-athletes in California will no longer be eligible to receive college and university recruiting information through the League or be eligible for League scholarships.
It wasn't a move the League wanted to make, but they say their hands were tied by California Assembly Bill 2571, recently signed into law along with a whole raft of anti-gun measures by Gov. Gavin Newsom. Barring gun-related advertising to minors, AB 2571 provides for a civil penalty of $25,000 for any and each instance of firearm-related marketing to persons under the age of 18. That includes the “...use, or ownership of firearm-related products...” as well as “... events where firearm-related products are sold or used.”
John Nelson, national president of the Minnesota-based USA Clay Target League, said in a statement, "This misguided new law is detrimental to law-abiding and very responsible students from across California as it will prohibit students from representing their high schools by participating in this safe and fun school-approved activity."
Guns.com visited with Nelson and the League last year at the Minnesota Trap Shooting Championship – which for the record is the world’s largest clay target shooting sport event – with over 6,500 student-athletes in 300 high school teams taking the field over the course of nine full days of competition.
“The League is the safest sport in high school," said Nelson. "Over 1,500 schools across the nation have approved our program. Hundreds of thousands of students have participated, and there has never been an accident or injury.”
The League’s priorities are safety, fun, and marksmanship – in that order – and participants have fired more than 75 million shells since its inception with a spotless safety record. Each student-athlete must pass a safety certification before becoming active in the sport and safety equipment was mandatory. The League – which bills itself as the safest sport in high school – has not logged a reported injury since its founding in 2001.
"Preventing participation, stripping high schools of their teams, and robbing students of opportunities for college scholarships hardly seems reasonable or common sense," said Nelson of the move by California lawmakers.
AB 2571 is currently being challenged in court by a variety of gun rights and shooting sports groups including the Second Amendment Foundation.
"The First Amendment protects commercial speech that promotes legal products and services,” said SAF Founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb. "You simply cannot single out people engaged in a legal business enterprise and forbid them from advertising or promoting their products just because you don’t like them. That’s what this case is all about."