Federal Appeals Court In Fresno Overturns Bullet-Stamp Ruling

From AP — Gun man­u­fac­tur­ers have the right to present evi­dence sup­port­ing their claim that tech­nol­o­gy does not exist to com­ply with a Cal­i­for­nia law requir­ing new mod­els of semi-auto­mat­ic hand­guns to stamp iden­ti­fy­ing infor­ma­tion on bul­let cas­ings, a state appeals court said Thurs­day.

The rul­ing by the 5th Dis­trict Court of Appeals in Fres­no over­turned a low­er court rul­ing reject­ing a law­suit by two firearms trade asso­ci­a­tions that chal­lenged the law.

The appeals court sent the case back to the low­er court for fur­ther con­sid­er­a­tion.

It would be illog­i­cal to uphold a require­ment that is cur­rent­ly impos­si­ble to accom­plish,” Jus­tice Her­bert Levy wrote for the appeals court.

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.

Han­nah Shear­er, a staff attor­ney at the San Fran­cis­co-based Law Cen­ter to Pre­vent Gun Vio­lence, said the argu­ment that gun man­u­fac­tur­ers can’t com­ply with the law is bogus and will be reject­ed by the tri­al court.

California’s micro­stamp­ing law gives law enforce­ment a strong tool to inves­ti­gate and solve gun crimes and also com­bat gun traf­fick­ing,” she said.

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 say.

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.

The foun­da­tion filed the law­suit with the Sport­ing Arms and Ammu­ni­tion Man­u­fac­tur­ers’ Insti­tute.

Bren­da Gon­za­lez, a spokes­woman for the state attor­ney general’s office, said the office was review­ing the rul­ing.

State offi­cials said gun man­u­fac­tur­ers could com­ply with the law by putting two stamps on the fir­ing pin. But the appeals court said the Leg­is­la­ture required dual micro­stamp­ing to pre­vent crim­i­nals from defeat­ing the process by defac­ing or remov­ing the fir­ing pin. Allow­ing two stamps on the fir­ing pin would not serve that pur­pose, Levy wrote.

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 no new mod­els of pis­tols have been intro­duced in Cal­i­for­nia since the law took effect, and hun­dreds of pis­tols have been tak­en off the state’s firearm ros­ter because even slight changes ren­der the gun a new mod­el.

A sep­a­rate law­suit chal­leng­ing the law on con­sti­tu­tion­al grounds is pend­ing before a fed­er­al appeals court in San Fran­cis­co.

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ER1C ☠

ER1C ☠

Dedicated Second Amendment Advocate, At-Home Gunsmith, Designer, Blogger, Video Guy, Author, Business Owner & ReloadOne Member.


  1. My2cents
    December 5, 2016 at 11:39 am — Reply

    what’s to stop a crim­i­nal from chang­ing the fir­ing pin or sand­ing the stamp down. Again, lib­er­als assume crim­i­nals fol­low the law.

    • December 5, 2016 at 1:39 pm — Reply

      Absolute­ly cor­rect. They sim­ply leg­is­late with­out infor­ma­tion or knowl­edge.

  2. John Locke
    December 21, 2016 at 2:51 pm — Reply

    It’s such an imag­i­nary tech­nol­o­gy they had to use a pho­to­shopped pic­ture of a micro­stamp on a car­tridge to illus­trate it.

  3. Sickoftheb.s.
    September 4, 2017 at 12:55 am — Reply

    Why cant they just use “bal­lis­tic foren­sics”?? Isnt that what they have been claim­ing all these years? Remem­ber they say they can match a fired cas­ing with the gun that fired it, Or match the rifil­ing marks left on the bul­let to the gun that fired it? Its all a scam! I won­der how many peo­ple have lost their free­dom due to this bogus “evi­dence”? They pump out bar­rels and fir­ing pins by the thou­sands in mass pro­duc­tion, you mean to tell me that you can sin­gle out a sin­gle firearm that was man­u­fac­tured on the same tool­ing as thou­sands of oth­er iden­ti­cal guns? And that you can do this with 100% cer­tain­ty? And that there is no chance of wrong­ly con­vict­ing, impris­on­ing and destroy­ing a inno­cent per­sons life?

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