(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ABC NEWS)
The ruling by the 5th District Court of Appeals in Fresno overturned a lower court ruling rejecting a lawsuit challenging the law by two firearms trade associations, the National Shooting Sports Foundation and the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute. The appeals court sent the case back down for further consideration.
Supporters of the law signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2007 touted it as the first such law to go into effect in the nation and said it would help law enforcement solve gun crimes by allowing them to link bullet casings to guns. The law requires new handgun models to have a microscopic array of characters in two spots that identify the gun’s make, model, and serial number and that are transferred by imprinting on each cartridge case when the gun is fired.
Gun rights groups say it is not possible to “microstamp” two areas of a gun. Only the tip of the firing pin can be microstamped, and current technology doesn’t allow the stamp to reliably, consistently and legibly imprint on the cartridge primer from that part of the gun, they said.
“We are pleased by today’s ruling because it means we will now be able to prove in court that this ill-considered law must be enjoined because it is literally impossible to comply with its requirements, and the law never requires the impossible,” Lawrence Keane, senior vice president and general counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, said in a statement.
A call to the state attorney general’s office for comment was not immediately returned.
The law was supposed to take effect in 2010, but was delayed because of patents on the technology, including at least one that had been bought up by a gun rights group to delay the law’s implementation.
It doesn’t impact guns already on the state’s official firearm roster. Only new or modified semi-automatic handguns sold in California must be equipped with the technology.
Keane said in an email that no new models of pistols have been introduced in California since the law took effect.