The Barrett effect: it's time to stop selling firearms to government agencies in California

Maybe we can arm that bear after all...

One of the effects of California’s increasingly draconian gun laws is that companies are finding increasingly costly to do business in the state, if not technologically impossible.


During SHOT Show, it was revealed that Ruger will stop selling semi-automatic pistols in the state, as they have not found a way to comply with the demands of the state’s absurd microstamping law.

Ruger CEO Mike Fifer explained that they aren’t voluntarily leaving the California market, but are being forced out by the California’s government.

A distributor suggests that Smith & Wesson is going the same route with their semi-automatics, and it appears that other gun companies will likely be forced to stop selling semi-automatic pistols in the state.

The San Fernando Valley NRA says that the law is working exactly as intended.

It’s not about allowing police “another tool to solve crimes”, but rather to dry up the supply of handguns available to law abiding Californians. Many many people floated ideas about how to defeat microstamping when the law was being debated. Their thinking at the time was to show legislators that the law is pointless as a law enforcement tool. The engineers in the crowd, however, pointed out that the law requires manufacturing techniques that are nonexistent. Furthermore, instead of making handguns “safe”, or make that “not unsafe” (Yes, that’s really how the law refers to the list!), irregularities in a gun’s chamber will eventually lead to a failure of the metal. But none of that registered with our betters in Sacramento. Why? Because safety and law enforcement weren’t the point of the law. The point was to stop legal handgun sales in California.


The point of the law was clearly to disarm the citizenry in the state of California as much as possible. Gun manufacturers and the citizens of California have several legal options open to them.

  1. California citizens can seek to vote out the anti-gun politicians that are pushing these laws and/or campaign have the law repealed.
  2. Californians and industry groups can sue to overturn the law.
  3. The gun industry can go “nuclear,” and refuse to sell any firearms in California, including to government agencies.

Presently, there seems to be little hope of reversing California’s trend towards the proven failure of South American socialism, and there is no reason to believe this will change as long as we are a nation that refuses to stop illegal immigration and illegal voting. That, of course, is a rant better suited for a different kind of web site.

There are legal challenges to the microstamping law working their way through the court system at this time, though the outcome is far from uncertain considering the “living Constitution” viewpoint of the local and regional courts, and these cases are perhaps years from being decided in any event.

The most immediate, impactful, and noteworthy impact that can be had upon the state of California is for firearms companies to refuse to sell or support government agency purchases of semi-automatic pistols that cannot be sold to the general public as a result of the microstamping law.


Industry giant Ronnie Barrett made this exact decision regarding the sale and service of Barrett .50 BMG rifles to agencies after California banned the sale of these arms to the general public in 2005, and that sent a message… but a relatively small one. After all, .50 BMG rifles are rare in all but the most deeply-pocketed law enforcement agencies, and are a “nice to have,” but certainly not a “need to have.”

Every law enforcement officer on the street or in a politician’s protective detail, however, is usually equipped with a semi-automatic handgun, and if Beretta, Glock, Heckler & Koch, Ruger, Sig Sauer, Smith & Wesson, Springfield Armory,Walther, etc refused to sell or service agency pistols they can’t sell to the general market, I suspect that attitudes inside the legislature would shift dramatically.

The government of California would like nothing more than to see the citizenry rendered powerless and defanged. I somehow think they would be a bit less enthusiastic if they were forced to live under the same conditions.

[“California Disarmed Bear” image shamelessly swiped from the always-excellent ENDO]

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