California Supreme Court Upholds Ban on New Handguns

(Photo: NRA-ILA)

The California Supreme Court last week upheld the state’s de facto ban on new handguns.

Since May of 2013, no new semiautomatic handgun can be sold in the Golden State unless it comes with microstamping technology, which is like equipping a pistol’s firing pin with a fingerprint. The idea being that the firing pin will leave its unique signature on every case or primer discharged through the gun. Law enforcement will then be able to, the theory goes, use these markings on spent casings to trace the gun via make, model, serial number, back to the owner.

Problem is microstamping is not a workable crime-fighting technology. For starters, the stamps wear off over time, they often don’t leave clear markings and they can quickly clog with fouling and debris. Not to mention the most obvious issue, criminals can either replace the firing pin or easily file off the stamp without affecting the function of the gun. Or heck, they can just buy a revolver which doesn’t eject the cases!

Because of these unavoidable limitations no manufacturer in the gun industry has taken the time to develop costly and ineffectual microstamping to satisfy the state’s mandate. Which means no new handguns are being offered to the almost 40 million residents of Kommiefornia.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) along with the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute (SAAMI) sued the state in 2014 on the grounds that compliance is impossible because viable microstamping does not exist.


SEE ALSO: Lawmakers Propose Microstamping Requirement, ‘Assault Weapons’ Ban

The California Supreme Court rejected the “impossibility” claim, ruling Thursday that just because something’s impossible doesn’t make it null and void.

“Impossibility can occasionally excuse noncompliance with a statute,” Justice Goodwin Liu wrote in the 19-page ruling. “But impossibility does not authorize a court to go beyond interpreting a statute and simply invalidate it.”

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra celebrated the court’s decision.

“Today’s ruling confirms that California can create incentives for the gun industry to make products that serve the public’s needs,” said Attorney General Becerra in a press release. “Innovation and technology will continue to drive California to be a leader. We will not go backwards. The California Department of Justice is committed to reducing gun violence and improving the ability of law enforcement to fight crime and hold accountable those who commit firearm murders and assaults.”


Yet, “going backwards” may still be on the table, as Alan Gottlieb, the founder of the Second Amendment Foundation, told GunsAmerica.

“This case is far from over. It will be appealed to the United States Supreme Court,” said Gottlieb via email. “In addition, there is another case filed by the Second Amendment Foundation in Federal Court, that is also pending in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, where oral arguments have already been heard. This ridiculous anti-gun law is far from final.”

***Shop for a New Pistol on GunsAmerica***

About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 36 comments… add one }
  • kjj1254 July 8, 2018, 2:25 am

    Adolf Hitler/Quotes

    “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.”
    “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.”
    “To conquer a nation, you must first disarm its citizens.”

    “The measures adopted to restore public order are: First of all, the elimination of the so-called subversive elements. … They were elements of disorder and subversion. On the morrow of each conflict I gave the categorical order to confiscate the largest possible number of weapons of every sort and kind. This confiscation, which continues with the utmost energy, has given satisfactory results.”
    – Benito Mussolini, address to the Italian Senate, 1931

    If the opposition disarms, well and good. If it refuses to disarm, we shall disarm it ourselves.”
    – Joseph Stalin

    George Mason – Pro Gun
    “To disarm the people is the most effectual way to enslave them.”

    “Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.”
    – William Pitt, Nov. 18, 1783

    “The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops.”
    – Noah Webster, 1787

    “To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them.”
    – Richard Henry Lee, Virginia delegate to the Continental Congress, Initiator of the Declaration of Independence, and member of the first Senate, which passed the Bill of Rights

  • Andrew N. July 7, 2018, 10:17 pm

    As a Native Californian, I wish that the Coastal section from Napa Valley and all points south would make a new country and outlaw guns. That way the rest of us in CA could go back to living in the real world. I can’t wait to move out of here. The weather is nice, but the politicians are insane. Let them see what happens when they get their way. We can let them secede, watch them all die from the rampant and uncontrolled crime, revoke the secession, and put the criminals to death quickly. Then maybe, just maybe California could return to being the best state in the union.

  • charles slusser July 7, 2018, 7:45 pm

    if you do not like the law and do not like the politico then change them out…….do something and quit your bullshit …if cannot dance then sit the hell down and be quite…………

  • MJ July 7, 2018, 7:39 pm

    So, a gun with microstamping gets stolen and the lawful owner reports it.
    If the gun is used in a crime, does the criminal with a stolen gun care? Then the weapon is traced back to the owner who reported it stolen and that helps who? Maybe the owner gets his gun back?
    What are these morons thinking? This might be a clever way to get gun owners to pick up their brass? Criminals could care less about using a stolen gun, because it can’t be traced back to them.This is a plot of California DOJ to eliminate the sales of new guns, which is a small portion of the gun control agenda.

  • Darryl July 7, 2018, 2:05 am

    they do this only to stop more guns from coming in to their state and thats the only reason. they really don’t care about the tracking on anything because they know no one is going to make these guns anyway.

  • David C July 6, 2018, 10:32 pm

    Firearm Manufacturers should stop ALL semi auto pistol sales to CA, including ALL Law enforcement.

  • egm July 6, 2018, 5:07 pm

    When I read the word ‘Kommiefornia’ I knew that this piece was written by a someone sensible who recognizes the state’s stupidity and especially the idiot democrats who control most of Commiefornia’s larger cities. What I wasn’t aware of was just how useless micro stamping actually is. I now fully understand why it’s anti gun. Unfortunately, an idiot like AG Becerra only worsens things for the state. The good thing is that we in Commiefornia can still legally purchase guns that are prohibited if they’re sold used in legal venues like pawn shops and gun stores. That’s what I wanted to do with one or two of the XD models.

  • Martingard July 6, 2018, 4:28 pm

    9th Circuit Court of Appeals****** You’ve got to be sh—ing me, when have they ever done anything for the people?

    • Dr Motown July 7, 2018, 8:26 am

      Exactly…good luck winning anything there

    • kjj1254 July 8, 2018, 2:09 am

      Dumb ass Californians keep voting in Socialist, they reap what they sow. Soon the state will be a unarmed target rich environment where only the criminals will have guns.

  • Lenny F July 6, 2018, 3:33 pm

    The State of California has done everything a feeble mind can do to limit the private ownership of firearms, but it will never work. You can tax ammo, but that is a back-door Democrat trick that can be circumvented. They worry about guns, but guns are the least of their worries.
    The joke is, that a terrorist does not need a gun, nor does somebody who wants to kill his classmates. Much deadlier than a gun, and even easier to do, is plant a bomb. And you can make explosives very easily at home, in your kitchen. You don’t need anything exotic, and 60 years ago, I used to do it for amusement. (I never hurt anybody or even tried). These days, you can buy canisters of Butane and road flares. We did things with match heads. And don’t forget there are only 3 ingredients in gunpowder, but you can add more. You can outlaw pressure cookers, but you know there is always a workaround.
    My point is that Californians are putting an effort into doing something that will not have the desired effect. They forget a gun or a bomb or a knife is only a tool, and the individual is the real weapon.

  • Brian July 6, 2018, 1:10 pm

    And once again the so-called justices of Kalifornia have DENIED the second class “citizens” of this state their Constitutional right to own a handgun of their choice, unlike real AMERICANS in the 49 other states of this nation. And one of the leaders of the mexican junta controlling Sacramento, Becerra, crows about how Kalifornia is so much advanced over the rest of the country and they should follow the evil ideas that these scumbag politicians devise to strip and confiscate the firearms of ALL law-abiding citizens, and the Constitution of the United States be damned! Law-abiding citizens of this oppressive regime will get no satisfaction from this case until it is presented to SCOTUS and overturned which it will eventually be as it is a clear case of the state governments infringement on the Second Amendment right of the citizens who live there. Thank God we have a President who will appoint judges to SCOTUS that will uphold the Constitution in spite of these damned subversive liberals who would deny us our rights that they do not want us to have and exercise!

  • Mark Thompson July 6, 2018, 1:07 pm

    Additional info:

    The roster was originally called “Not unsafe Handgun Roster”

    Additional requirements and law changes were added over the years with the effect being – no new semi auto will be added, AND any firearm not renewed (with fee) each year will be dropped from the list. (if it’s not made anymore no one is going to submit guns and pay to keep or add them)
    SO no new guns added AND a FFL Dealer can not sell ANY used handgun the is not on the list.

    It has the effect of putting legitimate sales and profits out of reach of legal gun stores, effectively putting many out of business. Add to that a crap load of record keeping and counter time filling out all the records and forms –


    Police departments and Law enforcement officers are exempt from the Roster,(It ONLY applies to the common citizen).
    LE Departments and officers can purchase any firearm they want (officers do need to get a department form) – AND after purchase can sell that same firearm as a private party transfer. — Buy discounter Firearm, use it gently awhile and sell it at a great profit down the road due to its availability and desirability in the starved market.

    I would like the roster voided, BUT in the mean time LE Departments and individual officers should be subject to the same BS as the common folks. They were except because the politicians that wrote these laws NEW what the effect would be and they need LE and LE Departments to enforce these laws.

    OK, I’ll step off the soap box now with a parting thought,
    these laws were written with the sole intent on circumventing the U.S Constitution, they are side stepping the second amendment and by effect making it unavailable to many.

    Any law the blocks rights granted by the constitution should be removed or changed.

  • luckieboy July 6, 2018, 12:54 pm

    well a.g. becerra, let’s see you walk on water or…….else.

  • Dan July 6, 2018, 12:04 pm

    Commiefornia? Please isn’t it Trump who is Trump’s cuck?

  • Al July 6, 2018, 10:17 am

    I hate to say it, but we need 2 more stars on the Flag.
    It must be a bitch to be a Conservative Californian these days.
    We feel for ya, brothers and sisters!

    • Bill July 6, 2018, 11:18 am

      Problem is adding two more stars to the flag also probably adds four more Democrats to the US Senate.

    • Johnny July 6, 2018, 11:19 am

      Thank you and yes it does! I’m from the Central Valley which is probably the last standing conversative area in the state (and that’s changing too), and unfortunately, our very large region will never have a say being stuck between San Francisco and Los Angeles. When you’re outnumbered almost 20 to 1, it’s a long uphill, rather frustrating battle.

      And thank for not just going with the “if you live there you have to move!!!!” Good idea…all the last of the good folks, just tuck your tails and run away from the fight🙄 Running away doesn’t win battles.

  • abnormal July 6, 2018, 9:59 am

    I’m still trying to wrap my brain cell around the “just because something’s impossible doesn’t make it null and void.” thing.

  • Clint W. July 6, 2018, 9:55 am

    Maybe they ought to microstamp illegal aliens.

  • Gregory Romeu July 6, 2018, 9:49 am

    “The ability of Governments to overpower and destroy those that are governed is directly proportionate to the amount of effort the governed put into maintaining their government officials.” – Gregory Romeu

  • joefoam July 6, 2018, 9:48 am

    If it’s impossible to do, how can you do it. How do you even make that argument? The court simply banned guns altogether. It’s time to get rid of these judges working as advocates and get some real judges.

  • mikelasnicov July 6, 2018, 9:38 am

    This law is actually nonsense even if they can do the micro stamping. Even a stupid criminal could take a file or something and get rid of the stamp. This would not require a gunsmith or skilled craftsman or even a particularly smart person.

    • Edward July 7, 2018, 8:41 pm

      So easy, even a democrat could do it.

  • onthe wall July 6, 2018, 8:20 am

    I want to know just 1 thing. If Commiefornia is really interested in stopping violent crime, I mean really interested why have they not passed a law such as this, commit a crime with no weapons standard sentencing as now, commit a crime with a weapon where weapon is NOT USED mandatory 5 years on top of all of all other sentences with no parole, commit a crime with a weapon and weapon is used with no injuries or deaths 10 years on top of all other sentences no parole, commit a crime with a weapon with injuries to anyone with no deaths 15 years on top of all other sentences no parole, commit a crime with a weapon with death of anyone 20 years on top of all other sentences no parole. WHEN YOU ASSHOLE DUMBOCRATS PASS SOME LAWS TO ACTUALLY PUNISH CRIMINALS THEN I MIGHT THINK YOU HAVE SOME SORT OF A BRAIN OTHERWISE YOU ARE ALL FULL OF SHIT.

  • Jay July 6, 2018, 7:18 am

    I soon as I read Commiefornia I knew what the outcome would be! Democrat/liberals are nothing more than communist/solist trying to destroy the USA and the Republic for which we stand!! All of the real Americans left need to boycott Cali and not even buy anything over the internet from any business located in the State!

  • Dan July 6, 2018, 5:18 am

    I am getting around the handgun ban by leaving the state of commiefornia! AND taking my pension and other income and resulting taxes – to commiefornia…here is a be F-you, too!

    • Altoids July 6, 2018, 11:36 am

      ‘Bout time!

      More of you need to do that. If you have businesses, take them with you.

      When you relocate to your new state, leave any leftist habits / ideas behind, or you’ll infect that state with the same ideological viruses that California is infected with and subject everyone else around you to the same trashy wannabe communist-driven government that you just took leave of.

    • Edward July 7, 2018, 8:44 pm

      By end of year, I will have a brand new Georgia license plate on my truck. One that will cost me about $250 less then my California plate. I’ll also have a concealed carry permit, which the paper work is absolutely crazy here for. Really?! Seems like it’s about 8 pages long. Oregon’s is only 1 page!

      Good-bye California. You used to be the golden state, but now your just gold-plated. All your value is gone.

  • Mr Evilwrench July 6, 2018, 4:08 am

    Those judges don’t know about jury nullification, do they? Of course, it’s not taught in law school or advertised to the public; it would be inconvenient to their agenda.

  • Bob Seymore July 4, 2018, 1:54 pm

    Great idea, let them use sling shots

  • Bob Seymore July 4, 2018, 1:52 pm

    California is full of liberal degenerate communist dumbocraps and their supreme court is full of the. It’s the most over turned court in the country and should be defunded and hung for treason

  • Jaque July 3, 2018, 4:43 pm

    The first firearm manufacturers that submit to the California communists will encourage other states to jump on Stalin’s bandwagon.
    Gun makers should stop all gun and ammo sales in California including a ban to sell to law enforcement. Choke the state off and I bet the exodus by gun owners from the state is so large tax revenues are affected.
    And if California cops have no replacement guns and ammo I bet the Stalinist government blinks first.

    Its time the firearms industry sets aside profits in order to send the California communists a strong message.

    • Jay July 6, 2018, 7:13 am

      It would be nice to see such a stand in today’s world!!!

    • Andy July 6, 2018, 7:50 am

      Dan: You hit the nail on the head. The firearms makers must quit aquiescing to the lunacies being exacted on citizens in states like NY, CA and MA with these ridicculous fireams measures——this means no new firearms for anyone——LEO or Non-LEO. Do the gun manufacturers not understand they are cutting their own noses off to spite their faces by participating in these infringements upon the rigjts of law abiding ordinary people’s avility to own firearms? Take away the average Joe’s ability to have firearms and their sales will plummet. We need to support any gun compnay that will stand up to these tyannical laws with our pocket books.

  • Marcus July 3, 2018, 12:10 pm

    If your going to ban handguns for “safety” reasons this ban must apply to cops TOO! Why hasn’t anyone who has been shot with an LEOs off roster handgun sued the city and state for allowing an officer to use a gun deemed unsafe by the CA DOJ?!?!?!?!?!

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