Judge Upholds California Gun Microstamping Law

BY Herschel Smith
4 years, 2 months ago

CBS Sacramento:

A federal court has rejected a challenge to California’s gun safety law, possibly paving the way for a requirement that new guns mark the bullets they fire so they can be traced.

The ruling on Wednesday was a defeat for two gun rights groups that argued the Unsafe Handgun Act violated the constitutional right to bear arms.

The law prohibits the manufacture or sale in California of any gun that doesn’t meet certain safety requirements. It was aimed at outlawing cheap “Saturday Night Specials” that were disproportionally used in crimes.

A 2007 amendment added a requirement that new or modified semi-automatic handguns include technology that microstamps a bullet casing with a code identifying the gun’s make, model and serial number.

That requirement was held up by concerns about patent issues on the technology but took effect in 2013. However, the federal challenge continued.

This week’s ruling “means that more gun crimes will be solved, more lives will be saved and California communities will be safer,” said a Friday statement from Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, who authored the 2007 amendment when he was a state Assembly member.

The gun safety law initially was challenged in 2009 by the nonprofit Second Amendment Foundation and Calguns Foundation, Inc.

Their lawsuit argued that the state law unconstitutionally prevented some members from buying certain types of handguns that were not on the state’s roster of permitted weapons.

The judge in the federal case rejected the argument that the law was onerous, saying that the commercial sale of firearms in the state “proceeds robustly,” with about 1.5 million handgun transactions since the lawsuit was filed.

The ruling also noted that the state’s roster of permitted handguns includes 795 models.

More from Orange County Register:

The law doesn’t violate the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment because gun owners don’t have a right to specific types of firearms, U.S. District Judge Kimberly Mueller in Sacramento said in her ruling.

“Plaintiffs insist they have the right to determine the precise way in which they would exercise their Second Amendment rights,” Mueller said. The insistence upon particular handguns falls “outside the scope of the right to bear arms,” she said.

Several observations are in order at this point.  First of all, Ms. Kimberly Mueller was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 2010.  So much for gun rights being important to the GOP.

Next, it bears noting that while Ms. Mueller ruled that “[t]he insistence upon particular handguns falls “outside the scope of the right to bear arms,” she should have ruled that the constitution contains the phrase “shall not be infringed,” and that infringing is exactly what this law does.

Third, as to the notion that “this week’s ruling “means that more gun crimes will be solved, more lives will be saved and California communities will be safer,” said a Friday statement from Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, who authored the 2007 amendment when he was a state Assembly member,” it means nothing of the sort and Mr. Feuer is a liar.

Peaceable citizens purchase handguns from FFLs who follow the law.  Such people do not commit crimes where cartridges can be used to trace back to the particular person and weapon used to commit the crime.  That’s all a smokescreen to hide the real intent of the law.

They will no doubt argue that in order for this to work, they must implement the necessary corollary to the microstamping law, which is universal gun registration.  No, not just universal background checks, which effects sales going forward, but universal gun registration where the authorities have a record of all guns and who owns them.  The German Nazis wanted to know this sort of information too.  Of course, none of this has any effect on guns owned by criminals who will not register them.  It only applies to peaceable citizens.

Finally, the entire issue with the number of guns on the approved list today is yet another ruse.  The guns will fall off the list very soon.  The problem is that the list includes guns that do not include microstamping technology, and this is okay as long as no modifications are made.  Modifications might include melonite coating, different grips, safety improvements, match grade barrels, or anything else.  Since manufacturers do make routine minor (or major) modifications involving retooling the assembly line and machinery, that means that any new gun must include microstamping technology.

Gun manufacturers know exactly what will happen to their customer base if they produce weapons that are microstamped.  It will disappear from the face of the earth, and California politicians likely know this and are using it to rid California of legally sold guns.  In other words, they know that the “robust” sale of guns in California is a lie as it pertains to future sales.

I have interacted with Smith & Wesson, and to my dismay they won’t go on record and indicate to me that will refuse to sell to law enforcement if they cannot sell to other citizens.  This is a shame and a travesty of justice.  They will sell guns to law enforcement, while other citizens will see their list of potential guns dry up.  But to be fair to Smith & Wesson, the same is true of Glock, H&K and other manufacturers.  I just have more respect for the quality of S&W products and believe that they could be a beacon of liberty in California if they chose to.  They have not chosen to.  They have chosen money over freedom.

The NSSF has also weighed in.

… as several independent, peer-reviewed studies have shown, this nascent technology is flawed. It is incapable of reliably, consistently and legibly imprinting the required identifying information in two locations on an expended cartridge casing. Even the patent holder in a 2012 study he co-authored acknowledged the problems with this technology and called for further study rather than mandating its use. A National Academy of Science review, forensic firearms examiners and a UC Davis study reached similar conclusions. Because of the technology’s inherent limitations, no manufacturer can comply with this new law.

What the Legislature actually did was ban the innovation and stop the continuous improvement of today’s manufacturing processes that would otherwise enhance firearms safety and other functionality.

Compounding the problem is the state attorney general’s overreaching definition of what constitutes a “new model,” thus triggering the microstamping requirement. According to the attorney general, the slightest modification or design enhancement done as part of the normal manufacturing process for any product, such as changing the way a part is made or its dimensions to make it stronger and more durable, is a “new model,” which would now require microstamping. As a result, pistol models deemed as “not unsafe” by California are rapidly falling off the approved-for-sale roster.

And that’s what I just told you.  But notice the way Lawrence Keane broaches the subject.  He says, “What the Legislature actually did was ban the innovation and stop the continuous improvement of today’s manufacturing processes that would otherwise enhance firearms safety and other functionality.”

He means that the technology could otherwise be good and wholesome and improve safety and functionality.  He doesn’t mention that its corollary is universal gun registration and that we will not cross that line.  Ever.  Ever.

The NSSF is not your friend.  Their argument is wrongheaded because they have crafted it according to their wrongheaded views.  These measures in California are totalitarian in nature and the time has come and gone for peaceable folk to negotiate and befriend the process.  The black robes of the Supreme Court will not overrule Ms. Mueller.  It sounds to me like one of two things is in order.  Either civil disobedience, or relocation because the war for California is lost.  I do not begrudge either choice, and I don’t know which is best.

But as for me and my house, we will treat guns designed with microstamping as I do so-called “smart guns.  I will never have one.

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Comments

  1. On March 2, 2015 at 9:31 am, Ned Weatherby said:

    So much bullcrap in one place. Great start, Herschel, and thanks for putting S&W on the spot – priceless. Typical idiotic reporting by MSM. To wit: “A federal court has rejected a challenge to California’s gun safety law, possibly paving the way for a requirement that new guns mark the bullets they fire so they can be traced.” Mark the bullets…so they can be traced. Nuff said.

    This ruling is why so many have come to despise the legal profession. A clear infringement of the Second Amendment is not an infringement – as long as one gives a mealy-mouthed written interpretation of why it doesn’t.

    What happened to manufacturers with principles, instead of principals? There are already smaller manufacturers who won’t submit their products to CA because if the burden imposed. Screw S&W and any other gun manufacturer that chooses the hypocrisy of arming the police who – will be utilized to disarm their citizen customer base – while citizens can’t legally purchase the same guns being used against them with standard-capacity magazines.

    I moved from CA in 1994. I won’t go back, even to visit. I fear the California police state more than I fear the typical thug.

  2. On March 2, 2015 at 10:51 am, no_tubes said:

    Republicans don’t care about any of our rights any more than the Dems. George Sr. gave us the “Assault Weapon” import ban in ’89 and George Jr. gave us the barrel ban in 2005. All politicians hate us for our freedoms.

  3. On March 2, 2015 at 1:53 pm, UNCLEELMO said:

    Thank you, Herschel. Being a native Californian I want to post a comment, but unfortunately between what’s happening in D.C. and Sacramento, and after reading your article, my headache won’t allow me.

  4. On March 15, 2015 at 2:52 pm, Ned Weatherby said:

    Uncle, I read a comment on another website where the guy posting opined that everyone who has an respectable fear of LEO’s was a pussy, and that we don’t have enough real “men” in the USA – and that’s the problem. I readily admit that I have much more fear of a police cruiser behind me than I do a low rider or pimpmobile. The latter two autos are typically doing to ignore me, and I them. However, I’m truly worried about carrying guns into California, even if properly stowed under the federal interstate firearm regulatory scheme. After all, they can always find something wrong. And “lying” to a LEO is an arrestable offense. I lived in CA for 10 years until 1994. I have the utmost respect for all you CA residents, – including members of my family. My stress level is less after crossing the border here into AZ. Just picking up and moving isn’t as easy as some seem to believe. Best to you.

  5. On March 2, 2015 at 2:43 pm, Archer said:

    As has been said, there’s so much wrong here, it’s hard to focus on any one part.

    Nevertheless, here’s my “one part”: “The insistence upon particular handguns falls ‘outside the scope of the right to bear arms,’ she said.”

    No, it really doesn’t. Not to get too legalistic, but per Heller, the government cannot ban importation or sale of whole classes of firearms “in common use”.

    Now, “‘common use’ is a flawed concept” arguments aside, non-microstamped handguns are overwhelmingly more common than microstamped handguns (tell me how many “standard” models include microstamping technology, again?). Therefore, upholding the law — and the “not unsafe” handgun roster that heavily depends on the law — is tantamount to upholding the very real ban on importation and sale of a whole class of firearms. If it wasn’t unconstitutional because of the Second Amendment, it should be unconstitutional because of Heller. It’s not about an “insistence upon particular handguns”; it’s about handguns, period.

  6. On March 2, 2015 at 3:49 pm, PatriotWarMonger said:

    “I just have more respect for the quality of S&W products and believe that they could be a beacon of liberty in California if they chose to.” ???!!! Seriously? A beacon of freedom? You mean like when S&W jumped into bed with Clinton to violate our rights and freedoms for promises of being selected for government contracts? That kind of freedom? ROFLMAO! Screw S&W.

  7. On March 2, 2015 at 4:16 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    Well, one could hope that they had learned their lesson from their previous misadventures. Apparently not. But again, no other gun manufacturer is any different. They will all sell to LEOs. Not a single one will abstain. Tell me if you find one.

  8. On March 3, 2015 at 2:51 pm, David Wright said:

    Didn’t Barrett say no sales or service to LEOs in states like Cali which outlawed sales of his .50 rifle to us peons?

  9. On March 3, 2015 at 3:14 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    Now that I think about it, you’re right.

  10. On March 4, 2015 at 11:32 am, Ned Weatherby said:

    It was directed at LAPD. An LAPD officers actually held up one of Barrett’s rifles at a counsel meeting while promoting a ban on same. It’s noteworthy that Barrett mentioned the officer and a councilman both fondled the rifle during a photo-op, violating current California law. Of course, nothing was done about that felony, because it was in the furtherance of erosion of rights.

    Here’s a link to the original letter to the LAPD Chief of Police: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/836082/posts

    Seems the law passed, and I believe Robbie Barrett sent the rifle back unserviced. I can’t find the letter Barrett posted on his website at the time regarding that issue.

  11. On March 14, 2015 at 1:00 pm, Ned Weatherby said:

    Edit: I found this letter from Mr. Barrett posted at Guns magazine: http://www.guns.com/2012/09/22

    This letter essentially restates what Herschel has stated a number of times: Companies should neither sell guns to, nor service products in the hands of lawbreakers – that is, people who support quashing preexisting rights guaranteed as inalienable by the Constitution.

  12. On March 26, 2015 at 12:51 pm, PatriotWarMonger said:

    It wasn’t that S&W was selling to LEOs. All firearms manufacturers do that and have a right to do it. S&W was in bed with the Clinton admin to destroy the Second Amendment rights of all Americans for consideration in Military contracts. S&W can go to hell (along with CTD, and Dick’s). It sickens me that they are enjoying the success that they are today. Just shows how utterly uninformed the American public, even gun owners, really are.

  13. On March 2, 2015 at 5:22 pm, Mark Farris said:

    I bet this wont solve a single gun crime in decades and now cops will be sued for using and carrying “unsafe” handguns.

  14. On March 23, 2016 at 11:47 am, Jon said:

    Smith and Wesson have always folded in the face of adversity…this is not the first time.

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You are currently reading "Judge Upholds California Gun Microstamping Law", entry #13506 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Featured,Firearms,Gun Control,Guns and was published March 1st, 2015 by Herschel Smith.

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