Any California gun owner will tell you that the state’s “microstamping” law has played havoc with their ability to purchase handguns since it was put on the books back in 2007. No new models of handguns have been made available for sale since, because manufacturers simply can’t comply with the law, which mandates each new handgun model in the state be able to imprint a unique identifying code on two separate locations of the cartridge of a bullet when the gun is fired.
Now Assemblyman David Chiu, a Democrat from San Francisco, is seeking to modify the bill in the hopes that he can make manufacturers comply with California’s mandate to microstamp.
On Monday, Assemblyman David Chiu will introduce AB2847, which would require that semiautomatic pistols sold in the state leave a single unique imprint on bullets that are fired — rather than two, as currently required. The marking, which reveals a gun’s make, model and serial number, is meant to help law enforcement investigations.
While that might possibly entice some manufacturers to attempt to comply with the microstamping law, Chiu’s bill would have a devastating impact on the handguns that are currently for sale in the state.
Under the measure, for each new gun model introduced in California with the microstamping technology, the attorney general would remove three that do not meet the standard from a list of handguns certified for sale.
“It creates a mechanism for unsafe guns to be phased out and safer guns that assist with crime-solving to enter the market,” said Chiu, a San Francisco Democrat.
And the National Shooting Sports Association’s Mark Oliva notes that, even with Chiu’s modification to the microstamping law, criminals can still easily thwart the technology.
He said the etching on a firing pin does not provide a legible imprint on every bullet casing and can easily be removed with sandpaper or by switching out the engraved firing pin with an unmarked spare.
“It doesn’t work every time,” he said. “There are better ways to address the crime problems that California has than putting new requirements on manufacturers.”
Oliva said the microstamping requirement is already infringing on gun rights in the state by choking off access to semiautomatic pistols as older models fall off the certified handguns list. He said continuing to pursue the “failed technology” of microstamping amounts to an empty gesture by lawmakers.
“They don’t seem to hear about a gun control idea that they don’t love,” he said.
Oliva’s right that the state is already infringing on the right to keep and bear arms by winnowing the list of handguns that are available for sale in the state. Based on the long lines at gun stores around California this past weekend, there are plenty of residents who are very interested in exercising their Second Amendment rights at the moment, but the state has made it much more difficult to do so thanks to gun laws like a ten-day waiting period, and the microstamping law which has dramatically reduced the options for handguns available to purchase.
Chiu’s legislation is just another attempt to impose a burden on firearms manufacturers and limit the Second Amendment rights of Californians. The state’s microstamping law doesn’t need to be modified, it needs to be repealed.