A tweak to California's so-called "microstamping" law that requires the removal of three currently certified handguns from the state's roster for each new pistol added is headed to Gov. Gavin Newsom for signature.
The bill, AB-2847, passed the California state Senate 25-12 on Friday after the 52-20 approval of the state Assembly in June. While on the surface a win for gun owners as it relaxes the state's prohibitively tough smart gun law, it also carries a stipulation with it that Second Amendment groups say is dangerous.
Currently, semi-automatic handguns in California made after 2013 have to meet a list of safety requirements by the state Department of Justice to be sold to consumers. Besides traditional safety features, they also have to be able to microstamp a fired case with an identifying series of characters in two locations.
This microstamping mandate, put in force by then-California Attorney General Kamala Harris, has stopped new pistol models from being sold to eager gun owners in the state, as the technology to use microstamping doesn't exist in today's gun makers' toolbox. The firearms industry contends no expert can be found “to show that dual placement microstamping technology can ever be developed for semi-automatic pistols.”
This has been termed as a "slow-motion handgun ban" by pro-2A organizations, as the state's roster of approved guns shrink over the years since no new models can be added and older models fall out of production. For instance, Glock keeps 3rd Generation models in production largely to keep selling guns in California as its 4th and 5th Gen guns cannot be added to the roster.
While AB-2847 gently relaxes the microstamping mandate as it would require that new semi-auto pistols impart characters to one location on ejected shell casings instead of two, it would also require a trio of legacy guns still on the roster be dropped for each new gun with microstamping technology that is added.
"Because of this ludicrous requirement that gunmakers include magic with their new handguns, the law effectively operates as a ban on modern handguns," noted the Firearms Policy Coalition on the legislation. "AB 2847 is an attempt to save a clearly unconstitutional law, and further restrict the rights of Californians by removing three handguns from the roster for every allegedly microstamp-compliant firearm added, no matter how expensive or obtainable that firearm may be."