Gun Manufacturers Continue To Fight 'Impossible' California Regulation

I firmly believe that the purpose of many regulations imposed on the gun industry isn’t really to reduce crime. They’re there to make it as difficult as possible for gun manufacturers to do business, in the hopes of forcing them out.

However, one California regulation is being argued as impossible to comply with.

Since 2013, California’s Unsafe Handgun Act requires two identifying microstamps be placed on a cartridge when a bullet is fired.

The microstamping standard has whittled down the list of guns the state deems safe for residents to legally purchase, according to the gun industry.

Furthermore, the National Shooting Sports Foundation said in a lawsuit filed in 2014, the technology isn’t there. The case was dismissed in 2015 by a state court judge, who said concerns about inability to comply with the statute are for the Legislature – not the courts – to handle.

But an appellate panel ruled gun manufacturers do have a right to try and prove that they could not comply with the law.

On Wednesday, the foundation’s attorney Lance Selfridge with Lewis Brisbois Bisgarrd and Smith told the Supreme Court justices that dual placement of micro-stamps is impossible. He compared the statute to one of raising the dead and the creating an impossible standard for health care providers to follow.

But arguing for the state, attorney Janill Richards said the law is meant as incentive for the gun manufacturing industry. She noted it’s the Legislature’s prerogative to ask industry to look at new technology and used the federal Clean Air Act as an example.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Imposing a standard on an industry can force innovation. It’s happened, so it’s pointless to say it can’t.

However, there comes a point when you just can’t require things that are impossible or too difficult with what we know how to do at this point.

Laws have to take reality into account. Granted, I know California lawmakers probably aren’t overly familiar with the concept of reality, but it’s still a thing. In this case, microstamping just isn’t ready and trying to impose the regulation is like trying to mandate cars be driven by artificial intelligence by 2019. It just isn’t going to happen.

The question you need to ask is whether that’s by design or not.

Think about it for a moment. If gun makers comply, so much the better, but if they can’t? Well, the law creates a ban that simply isn’t called a ban. It’s something that might actually be upheld by the courts as constitutional because it’s not a ban, it’s a regulation. If the gun industry can’t live up to it, well…not their problem.

At least one court already found that it wasn’t their place to overturn the regulation.

This opens the door for numerous ways to curtail our rights without actually calling it that. Anti-gunners won’t care, but the middle of the road people will accept it at face value. They don’t know the industry like pro-Second Amendment advocates do. They don’t understand the ramifications.

And someone is going to bank on that.