California Supreme Court upholds ‘slow motion handgun ban’ microstamping law
By Chris Eger
Gun industry groups insist microstamping mandate is impossible to accomplish in actual field conditions, turning the requirement into a ban on semi-auto handgun sales. (Photo: UCDavis)
California’s high court on Thursday sided with the state in a long-running case brought by firearms industry groups who say the state’s microstamping requirement is unattainable.
The case, challenging the state’s 2007 unsafe handgun modification requirements, pitted the National Shooting Sports Foundation and the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute against California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.
The gun groups argued the requirement for semi-auto handguns to mark cartridges with a microscopic array of characters, that identify the make, model and serial number of the pistol upon firing is “impossible to accomplish” and has only worked to artificially limit choices available to California gun buyers. The court, in a 19-page ruling, said that the law is the law, regardless of what was or wasn’t possible.
“Impossibility can occasionally excuse noncompliance with a statute,” Justice Goodwin Liu said for the majority. “But impossibility does not authorize a court to go beyond interpreting a statute and simply invalidate it.”
The suit was originally brought by the trade groups in 2014, arguing that the technology was unproven in actual field conditions and easy