'Microstamping' law causing problems for owners, sellers, makers of handguns

Friday, February 20, 2015
 | 
Michael F. Haverluck (OneNewsNow.com)

Unless you're a police officer in California, hitting the target range with your favorite revolver might not be an option soon — let alone, protecting your family from a home intruder. A decision in a federal lawsuit could prove any day now to be the latest victory for gun-control activists at the expense of millions of Californians who want a "piece" of mind.

A Closer LookDue to legislation that was signed into law in 2007 by the state's former governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, microstamping technology might make carrying a handgun in California — which already has some of the strictest gun-control laws in the nation — that much harder.

Confounded by the Golden State's microstamping law that went into effect in 2013, gun manufactures have been up-in-arms, so to speak, being unable to integrate the microstamping technology into their newly manufactured guns, which requires them to leave a telltale indentation precisely in the center of a shell casing that makes it identifiable when it is fired out of a handgun.

That law can't be legal … can it?

Plaintiffs in the case Pena v. Lindley are asking a district judge to throw out the 2013 California state law mandating that every new handgun be equipped with microstamping technology that "stamps" every bullet shell with a traceable mark when it leaves the barrel of a pistol.

Gun manufactures and lawyers for the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) and Calguns Foundation consider microstamping to be "unworkable" technology. The attorneys contend that because guns without microstamping technology cannot be sold in California — and because manufacturers are unable to integrate the technology into their handguns — the law is essentially banning revolvers from the state. They consider this a blatant violation of citizens' rights protected under the Second Amendment.

Mission impossible

Alan Gura is the lead prosecuting attorney filing the suit on behalf Calguns and SAF against the chief of the California Department of Justice Bureau of Firearms (CDJBF). He argues that the microstamping law is nothing more than a gun-control panacea to wipe out handguns from the Golden State.

"This is about the state trying to eliminate the handgun market," Gura insists. "The evidence submitted by the manufacturers shows this is science fiction and there is not a practical way to implement the law."

Gura points out that with the dynamics of the microstamping law and the way it's being enforced, the state government is pretty much fleecing Californians of their guns, making it just a matter of time before handgun buyers and sellers become extinct.

"At some point, gun sales will cease," Gura asserts.

The unprecedented and seemingly unjustifiable gun ban over the state is currently being reviewed by a district judge who could issue her ruling any time now.

"California Eastern District Judge Kimberly Mueller is considering Gura's request for her to enjoin the state from imposing a ban on the sale of new handguns based on lack of compliance with the microstamping law while the case, first filed in 2009, [moves forward] … until the technological challenges are resolved," FoxNews.com's Malia Zimmerman informs. "Although Mueller has not said when she will issue a decision, Second Amendment Foundation officials believe it could come any day."

Anyone? … Anyone? …

Going on two years now since the microstamping law was enforced, not even one manufacturer in the nation has created a new handgun with the prescribed mandatory technology.

"Two major manufacturers - Smith & Wesson and Sturm, Ruger & Co. - announced last year they would stop selling new firearms in the California market, and blamed the microstamping law," Zimmerman reports. "The technology has been demonstrated, but gun makers say requirements that each new model, or even modification, must be re-tested for compliance makes the entire scheme unworkable."

Crime busters?

Prosecutors against Gun Violence (PAGV) co-founder Mike Feuer is the state lawmaker who introduced the microstamping bill back in 2007. He attempts to justify drafting the problematic law by arguing that the technology is actually workable, despite contrary arguments by most every gun manufacturer. Feuer sold his ban by getting state officials to believe that the microstamping law will make solving handgun crimes much easier.

"When we know who bought the crime gun, that's a significant lead for law enforcement," contends Feuer, who is now strategically positioned as the Los Angeles city attorney.

Expanding his Golden State vision to the entire nation, Feuer claims that microstamping would work to solve 45 percent of gun crimes that remain unsolved in the rest of the country.

Another gun-control activist who supported the passage of the microstampting law, California Brady Chapters president Dallas Stout, said the technology would provide a convenient criminal-tracking system.

"[It will] provide law enforcement with an important tool to track down armed criminals and help solve gun crimes," Stout predicts.

This kind of reasoning pushing the bill enabled it to be passed in 2013, when proponents argued that microstamping and ballistic identification systems, when used together, would make it easier for police to investigate crime scenes, where shell casings are found much more readily than guns, stated the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

Evidence? What evidence?

Even though there are many lofty claims touting the advantages of microstamping, their assumptions are based on no statistics or evidence, as the guns with the technology have yet to be tested.

"A spokesperson for Long Beach's Police Forensic Sciences Services Division said the department has no such statistics because there are no firearms that actually use the technology yet," Zimmerman informed. "And even law enforcement authorities have wavered on whether it will work: The California Police Chiefs Association, which originally supported the legislation in 2007, changed its position in 2009."

Further bursting the microstamping bubble, it is argued that the gun-banning technology is utterly flawed and unreliable.

"Publicly available, peer-reviewed studies conducted by independent research organizations conclude that the technology does not function reliably and that criminals can remove the markings easily in mere seconds," states a letter sent by the California Police Chiefs Association to Gov. Jerry Brown (D-Calif.) when he was the California state attorney general.

Afraid of the big guns?

Fearful of some of the newfound resistance ganging up with some of the formidable gun-rights big hitters, Feuer is now crying foul.

"[The gun lobby] has engaged in an outrageous, last ditch effort to try and thwart a law broadly supported by law enforcement," Feuer complained.

But it is prospective gun buyers (and sellers) who are currently between a rock and a hard place, as Calguns Foundation co-founder Gene Hoffman says gun connoisseurs are up the creek while Judge Mueller mulls over her upcoming ruling – which could ultimately end being debated and decided the U.S. Supreme Court.

"Any new semi-automatic gun that we want to carry for self-defense or purchase as collectors will not be available to us at all," Hoffman said, clarifying the degree of the stranglehold that the microstamping bill currently has on gun owners and consumers.

Crime Prevention Research Center president John Lott agrees that the microstamping law violates Californians' Second Amendment rights — especially those held by the poor. This is because old guns grandfathered in under the law would cost more, which would be the only option if new guns are not available for purchase.

"The problem is the people who need guns the most and benefit the most from owning a gun – poor individuals in high crime areas – are priced out of the market," Lott concluded. "Who do they think they are disarming as a result of the law? It is minorities in poor crime areas, not some wealthy guy who can afford to purchase the firearms at a higher cost."

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