California requires microstamping guns

LOS ANGELES — A California law that requires all semi-automatic handguns to be equipped with technology that stamps its identifying information on bullet casings is now in effect after years of delays.

Though signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2007, the law couldn’t take effect as it was supposed to in 2010 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.

On Friday, Attorney General Kamala Harris officially certified and announced that patents were no longer an issue. Former state Assemblyman Mike Feuer, who authored the law, hailed it as a “monumental day for law enforcement” and said it was the first such law to go into effect in the nation. Other states, notably New York, have looked at such a law, but have had troubles getting it passed.

“This very important technology will help us as law enforcement in identifying and locating people who improperly and illegally use and discharge firearms,” Harris said.

The law doesn’t impact the more than 1,200 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 that “microstamps” a bullet casing with a code identifying a gun’s make, model and serial number whenever the gun is fired.

New guns are not often added to the roster and one is not expected this year, said Lynda Gledhill, a spokeswoman for the Attorney General’s Office.

Gun rights groups argued that the law was an effective ban on new guns because of the burdens it places on manufacturers.

“Manufactures are not going to create a special run of firearms with all of these very burdensome manufacturing technologies just so they can comply and produce firearms for one market,” said Brandon Combs, executive director of the Calguns Foundation, a gun rights group based in San Carlos, Calif.

The Calguns Foundation extended a patent by paying a $555 fee, Combs said. He said the group was planning to conduct an “audit” of the state Department of Justice to determine whether the patents were truly “unencumbered.” The group has challenged requirements of the state’s handgun roster as unconstitutional in a federal court filing.

Feuer, who is running for LA city attorney, said the law would likely extend to other states which had been “looking to California to see if our law goes into effect.”

About 40 percent of California’s homicides are unsolved each year, most of which involve guns, Feuer said, but “we can do something to change that.”

More in Local News

These little piggies stay home

Norman, who was spotted last week in Everett, is part of a trio kept as pets by the “pig whisperer.”

Cheering families welcome Kidd, Shoup after 6 months at sea

“I get back Daddy back today,” said one homemade sign at Naval Station Everett.

Stanwood man, 33, killed in crash near Marysville

Speed may have been a factor, the sheriff’s department said.

Street-legal ATVs approved for some roads near Sultan

Supporters foresee tourism benefits. Opponents are concerned about injury and pollution risks.

Jamie Copeland is a senior at Cedar Park Christian Schools’ Mountlake Terrace campus. She is a basketball player, ASB president, cheerleader and, of course, a Lion. (Dan Bates / The Herald)
Cedar Park Christian senior stepping up to new challenges

Jamie Copeland’s academics include STEM studies, leadership, ASB activities, honor society.

Woman, 47, found dead in Marysville jail cell

She’d been in custody about four days after being arrested on warrants, police said.

County plans to sue to recoup costs from ballot drop-box law

A quarter-million dollars could be spent adding 19 ballot boxes in rural areas.

Merger would make Providence part of health-care behemoth

Providence St. Joseph Health and Ascension Health are said to be talking. Swedish would also be affected.

5 teens in custody in drug-robbery shooting death

They range in age from 15 to 17. One allegedly fatally shot a 54-year-old mother, whose son was wounded.

Most Read