By Perry Chiaramonte
Published January 26, 2014
A new gun law proponents say helps law enforcement has driven Smith & Wesson and Sturm Ruger out of California, and affirmed the suspicions of firearms rights advocates that the measure is really about making handguns obsolete.
The two companies have announced they will stop selling their wares in the nation’s most populous state rather than try to comply with a law that requires some handguns to have technology that imprints a tiny stamp on the bullet so it can be traced back to the gun. The companies, and many gun enthusiasts, say so-called “microstamping” technology is unworkable in its present form and can actually impair a gun’s performance.
“Smith & Wesson does not and will not include microstamping in its firearms,” the Springfield, Mass.,-based manufacturer said in a statement. “A number of studies have indicated that microstamping is unreliable, serves no safety purpose, is cost prohibitive and, most importantly, is not proven to aid in preventing or solving crimes.”
“This is the latest attempt to undermine the Second Amendment in California by politicians with little to no knowledge of firearms … “
– Chuck Michel, National Rifle Association
“The microstamping mandate and the company’s unwillingness to adopt this so-called technology will result in a diminishing number of Smith & Wesson semi-automatic pistols available for purchase by California residents.”
Southport, Conn.-based Sturm Ruger also announced this month that they will also stop selling their guns in California due to the microstamping law.
Firearm microstamping, or ballistic imprinting, works by engraving a microscoping marking onto the tip of the firing pin. When the gun is fired, it leaves an imprint, usually of a serial number, on the bullet casings. The telltale mark theoretically allows law enforcement investigators to trace the bullet to the registered gun owner. California’s law is the first in the nation to be implemented and was originally signed into effect in October 2007, but not implemented until recently. Several other states are considering similar measures.
Law-enforcement is exempt from microstamping requirements.