Smith & Wesson Rejects Microstamping

BY Herschel Smith
5 years, 6 months ago

By now it has become common knowledge that Smith & Wesson has rejected microstamping and will revise they way they distribute in California.  The author of the bill has called their position baloney.

Smith & Wesson President and Chief Executive James Debney, in a statement released Thursday, said the law was poorly conceived and would make it impossible for Californians to have “access to the best products with the latest innovations.”

Feuer called the gun lobby’s objections “baloney.” He said the new technology gives police crucial evidence in handgun-related killings, hundreds of which go unsolved every year, and that the legislation had wide support from law enforcement agencies.

Feuer is the one whose position is baloney.  It would be a profoundly bad idea for any gun maker to engage in such a practice.  First of all, if a manufacturer ever crafts guns that are microstamped, the entire gun community would know within a day what firearm it is, and would never expend the effort necessary to ascertain whether the specific gun they want to purchase has been microstamped.  Sales of used firearms of that make would plummet and the value of the gun would go to about zero.  Second, the gun community would within short order let that manufacturer know exactly where we stand.  Smith & Wesson has been there and done that.  They won’t be going back.

But it isn’t that simple.  Read some of Smith & Wesson’s statement.

Smith & Wesson Corp. announced today that although it continually seeks ways to refine and improve its firearms so that consumers have access to the best possible products, the State of California is making that impossible when it comes to California residents.

Under California’s “Unsafe Handgun Act,” any new semi-automatic pistol introduced into that state must comply with microstamping laws. In addition, California asserts that anything other than a cosmetic change to a handgun already on the California Roster of Handguns Certified for Sale, including performance enhancements and other improvements, requires it to be removed from the roster and retested. For semi-automatic pistols, this means it must comply with the microstamping requirements, as well.

Smith & Wesson does not and will not include microstamping in its firearms. A number of studies have indicated that microstamping is unreliable, serves no safety purpose, is cost prohibitive and, most importantly, is not proven to aid in preventing or solving crimes. The microstamping mandate and the company’s unwillingness to adopt this so-called technology will result in a diminishing number of Smith & Wesson semi-automatic pistols available for purchase by California residents.

This is not a problem unique to Smith & Wesson. The microstamping legislation and California’s position regarding performance enhancements and other improvements creates the same challenge for all firearm manufacturers, since presumably all of them refine and improve their products over time.

Smith & Wesson currently produces a California-compliant version of its M&P® Shield and SDVE™ pistols. Both of these new products were launched last week at SHOT Show® in Las Vegas and are expected to begin shipping within 90 days. They are expected to more than offset the impact of those M&P pistol models that will not remain on the Roster. Both the M&P Shield and the SDVE pistols are expected to remain on the California Roster of Handguns Certified for Sale as long as no changes are made to those models and the company does not plan to make changes to them for this reason. All other Smith & Wesson handguns are at risk of eventually falling off the roster over time. The company expects that any current production revolvers that fall off will be re-tested and returned to the roster, since microstamping does not apply to revolvers. Without some change in position by California, however, any semi-automatic pistols (other than the California-compliant models referenced above) that are removed from the roster will not be returned and law-abiding citizens will not be permitted to buy them from a licensed dealer in California.

Absent in this statement is what Smith & Wesson will do about sales to law enforcement of M&P models and any other model that interests LEOs.  Law enforcement is specifically exempted from any microstamping requirements.  It would be an abominble and obscene position to sell to law enforcement what the common citizens cannot legally have.

I have sent a note to Matt Rice for clarification.  I’ll keep readers informed on what Smith & Wesson says about this issue.

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Comments

  1. On February 1, 2014 at 8:21 pm, Michael Schlechter said:

    I suspect that the California legislature expected this response from S&W. I’m sure that they would gladly eliminate the guns that they don’t like (all of them). This will certainly come to pass if other manufacturers follow S&W’s lead. This is another poke in the eye for the unfortunate residents of the People’s Republic of California, and yet another significant reason (taxes, Workmen’s Comp fraud) to relocate from this leftist progressive paradise.

    Not sure what to make of S&W, though. I’d like to think that they’ve learned from the last PR catastrophe. We’ll all be waiting with bated breath to see whether they will stand on principle and eliminate LE sales in California; I rather doubt that they will stand that tall.

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This article is filed under the category(s) Firearms,Guns and was published January 24th, 2014 by Herschel Smith.

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