An article published in the Washington Post evokes the moment that Michael Baryla, owner of Tracy Rifle and Pistol in northern California, was told by an inspector that he would have to remove vinyl decals depicting handguns from the front of his store. The reason is a 90-year-old state law prohibiting owners of gun stores from advertising handguns on their premises. Now Baryla is leading the charge to challenge this obsolete and harmful restriction.
Tracy Rifle and Pistol v. Harris is expected to come to trial early next year. Law professor Eugene Volokh, who represents the plaintiffs, noted, “There’s pretty solid First Amendment case law protecting the right to advertise in this context. And that’s both from U.S. Supreme Court and the Ninth Circuit.” Firearms retailers are prohibited from putting handgun ads outside their stores in the meantime, but they are optimistic that they will soon be able to market their goods like other business owners.