Down Range: March 2014

Bani California


Smith & Wesson and Sturm, Ruger have announced they will stop selling their pistols in California rather than manufacturing those firearms to comply with the state’s new microstamping law. Both companies announced these moves after the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for firearms manufacturers, filed suit against California for requiring that all new semi-automatic handguns that are not already on the state’s approved gun roster have the microstamping technology.

Microstamping is a patented process that, theoretically, would engrave a unique code on the tip of a gun’s firing pin that would transfer that imprint to the casing when fired. As a technology, it is as proven as pixie dust. Company executives say the same thing, just not as colorfully. To wit:

James Debney, Smith & Wesson’s president and CEO said, “As our products fall off the roster due to California’s interpretation of the Unsafe Handgun Act, we will continue to work with the NRA and the NSSF to oppose this poorly conceived law which mandates the unproven and unreliable concept of microstamping and makes it impossible for Californians to have access to the best products with the latest innovations.”
Ruger CEO Mike Fifer provided a legal declaration in support of a related lawsuit (Ivan Peña et. al v. Stephen Lindley) that seeks to overturn California’s microstamping law.

Fifer said in the declaration, “There is no workable microstamping technology today, and Ruger believes that California’s microstamping regulations make compliance impossible. Quite simply, the state law requires the technology to perform at a level that Ruger cannot practically implement and, to our knowledge, has never been achieved by any manufacturer. As it appears infeasible to comply with the CA DOJ microstamping regulations, Ruger does not have any ability or plans to incorporate microstamping in its semi-automatic handguns, and cannot forecast when, if ever, it would be able to do so.

“Accordingly, the microstamping requirement is now forcing Ruger to cease semi-automatic handgun sales in California as its handguns are forced off the roster. As of this writing, thirty Ruger semi-automatic handgun models remain on California’s roster. The last of these will expire on September 15, 2014, and no Ruger semi-automatic handguns can or will be added to the roster unless the microstamping requirement is rescinded.”

S&W reported that all M&P pistols (other than the M&P Shield) will fall off the roster by August because of performance enhancements, which will make them subject to the microstamping regulation. The M&P9c has already been taken off the list, and several more M&P models were unavailable for Californians to purchase by the end of January. Smith & Wesson will continue to sell revolvers, bolt-action rifles, and its new Shield and SDVE pistols in California.

Microstamping is simply a red-tape method of banning guns. Hopefully, the courts will rule sooner than later that California’s gun-approval structure violates the Second Amendment.GT


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