California Lawmakers Move to Force ‘Microstamping’ on Gun Industry

(Photo: NSSF)

California state lawmakers are hoping a new bill will finally force gun makers to implement “microstamping” technology on all new firearms.

The legislation would require all state, county, and city law enforcement officers to use firearms equipped with microstamping technology if they are purchased after July 1, 2023. Lawmakers are hoping the legislation will compel firearm manufacturers to implement the new technology in order to compete for state law enforcement contracts.

“We’re going to create a market for microstamp guns. There are 86,000 active law enforcement officers in the state of California. Folks are going to want to sell to them, want to be able to compete in that market,” Democratic Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel told the Associated Press. “This is technology that benefits law enforcement, that is going to help them in their investigations.”

California passed a law in 2007 requiring all new handgun models to be equipped with microstamping technology. But gun makers, knowing the cost and inefficacy associated with microstamping, have simply refused to introduce new firearm models into the state. Californians can still purchase new firearms, but residents have not had access to any new models since 2013.

Gabriel and his fellow anti-gun lawmakers believe gun manufacturers are simply being obstinate, and they’re hoping this new bill will force them to adopt the technology.

“For too long, gun manufacturers have prioritized ideology over safety and fought commonsense efforts to incorporate microstamping technology into new firearms,” Gabriel said in a press release. “Our legislation will allow California to use its market power to overcome this obstinance and dramatically expand the use of this important technology.”

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Much like “smart gun” technology, microstamping has been touted by anti-gun politicians without any regard for feasibility or efficacy.

The most frequently cited form of microstamping etches a microscopic set of figures onto a gun’s firing pin, which transfers those characters onto the primer of a cartridge. In theory, forensic experts could look at that primer under a microscope and link that cartridge to a particular handgun.

The technology is far from perfect. This study from the University of Iowa concluded that “it is not a perfect technology, even on optimized weapons.” High percentages of primers are totally unreadable, depending on the firearm used, and lacquered ammunition is always unreadable.

In addition, as the Mark Oliva of the National Shooting Sports Foundation told the Associated Press, criminals can quickly and easily file off the microscopic characters on the end of a firing pin, and the characters wear off over time.

“It sounds great on paper but … it doesn’t hold up. All it does is infringe on the rights of law-abiding citizens and make firearms unavailable to them,” Oliva said. “I don’t see how this would help to solve crime or resolve criminal misuse of firearms.”

For their part, gun makers have held that the technology is impossible to implement into their manufacturing process.

“Microstamping is unreliable, serves no safety purpose, is cost prohibitive and, most importantly, is not proven to aid in preventing or solving crimes,” Smith & Wesson said in a press release in 2014.

Gabriel’s bill has been referred to the Committee on Public Safety. Concerned citizens can contact the Assemblyman here.

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About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over six years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Tyler. Got a hot tip? Send him an email at jordan@gunsamerica.com.

{ 17 comments… add one }
  • eric gudmundson December 16, 2021, 9:04 am

    Go for it. I guess your 86,000 cops won’t get new models either or they will become the criminals when they go out of State to get them.

  • Jrp April 2, 2021, 4:41 pm

    This is their work around for gun registration. These communists think in years not days or months. When the day comes that they think they can getaway with gun confiscation they will be able to find them all. That is at least their theory. We need the 1968 gun control act repealed for its violation of the constitution. They got their foot in the door and will never stop chipping away until they confiscate all the guns. That is their ultimate goal no matter what bullshit comes out of their mouths period.

  • Dolanfossil March 26, 2021, 6:44 pm

    Bad guy goes to gun range, pick up empty cases. Bad guy commits crime, drops empty cases from gun range. Good guy wonders why he is under arrest for something he did not do. Smooth move California, another crime solved. We don’t care who we put in jail, just as long as someone goes to jail. Bad guy laughing his ass off.

  • Zupglick March 26, 2021, 5:17 pm

    Raise the price to Cal LEOs $100 per gun for the Custom micro-stamping and sell regular guns to US Citizens.

  • Clint W. March 26, 2021, 11:35 am

    Well, I would lose a son and his family who lives in CA, but I think if all US gun owners would go to the CA border with a hammer and chisel and we all started chipping away at the same time, it would break off and float into the ocean, and hopefully capsize and sink like H of R Hank Johnson thought Guam would do if the Navy expanded their base.

  • Constance Renda March 26, 2021, 10:55 am

    I hope all the gun manufacturers stick together and refuse to sell an firearms to CA’s law enforcement. THAT is the only thing that will stop this BS!

    • BluNos March 27, 2021, 7:27 pm

      BINGO! Folks we have a winner.

  • Brad March 26, 2021, 10:39 am

    I have always wondered why it is so important to sell guns in California. If the state issues this laws and their law enforcement and celebrity body guards can’t buy the weapons they need because of state legislation. Maybe that would help change their minds, but I am not sure about that. The Gun industry needs to understand there is a whole country here that buys guns not just California. let them dry up on the legislated vine.

  • CharlieKing1 March 26, 2021, 10:38 am

    I guess these looney, leftist law makers from California haven’t thought about someone using a revolver. Seems to me that this will throw a wrench into their ‘micro stamping’ plans…

  • Punisher Six March 26, 2021, 9:39 am

    Gun makers should be smart enough to know that when they Kalifornicated their models to include integral trigger locks, many people just refused to buy them, and either bought used or purchased from other less woke manufacturers. The USA is more than just the left coast, and most people know this.

  • StevO March 26, 2021, 8:42 am

    These are idiots making these laws. Any person can change the firing pins, or just file the head of the firing pins

  • james BAXTER March 26, 2021, 8:19 am

    this is a bull shit way of doing anything against gun owners ,these idiots dont, know doodle squat.

  • Jerald Koester March 26, 2021, 7:22 am

    Let’s see what marks are made on bullets and cartridge cases when fired from a firearm. Machine marks on the firing pin, extractor, ejector,bolt face, and scratch marks from the magazine. Next, the marks made on the bullet from the riffiling. Every firearm has it’s own set of ( set of finger prints).

    The micro prints are all ready their.

  • Gomer March 26, 2021, 7:01 am

    ……on the other hand, what’s to stop the industry from telling California to go pound sand where the sun don’t shine? 86,000 active law enforcement officers running around sans firearms ought to get SOMEbody’s attention! Grow some balls and quit laying down for these idiots. Yes, it might cost a few short term dollars, but in the long run, what’s freedom worth?? If we stand up to tyranny, it cannot exist. If we lie down for it, our “experiment” becomes just another speck in the dustbin of history and we deserve what we get.

    • Ziggy March 26, 2021, 7:36 am

      Didn’t one of the nation’s founders say “We must all hang together or most assuredly we will all hang separately”?
      These are going to be trying times and we MUST all act TOGETHER and as one. Otherwise we will each be slowly chipped away.
      We can’t be tempted to throw AR-15’S, standard capacity magazines, “ghost gun’s”, and whatever else the control freeks want.
      Maybe that fence in Washington DC is a good idea. Keep the CRIMINALS IN.

    • Stick Man March 26, 2021, 9:08 am

      You said it before I could say it. Gun manufacturers need to freeze out California’s LE agencies if they want to have a civilian market in the future. They say that where California goes, so goes the rest of the country. Well, if the rest of the country goes as California has gone, gun manufacturers will be having a tough time keeping the lights on. It’s time for them to think in the long term.

  • graceythecat March 26, 2021, 6:39 am

    Just more BS to raise the price of firearms!

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