With the stroke of a pen, new semi-automatic handguns have been banned from sale in California.
How, you ask? This bulletin, signed by the State’s Bureau of Firearms Chief, Stephen J. Lindley, for Attorney General Kamala Harris, requires all semi-auto pistols to be equipped with microstamping technology.
The technology, while available, is expensive and impractical and is not being employed by major manufacturers. Firearms manufacturers will most likely walk away from California rather than gear up to make the handguns for one State, a State that already has onerous gun laws. California-compliant models are already being dropped from production. The State’s registry of compliant weapons has dropped from 2,400 to 1,278 in recent years.
Microstamping technology is designed to create a microscopic set of characters on each cartridge fired. The characters would identify the make, model and serial number of the pistol, conceivably allowing law enforcement to track the gun to the owner.
However, the technology is far from tamper proof and is of little use when the gun is stolen or sold on the black market.
Jumping from the left coast to the right, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie saw three new gun bills land on his desk Tuesday. One would give owners of illegal guns (read scary and black and loud when fired) 180 days to dispose of them; one would create a task force to study ways to improve school security; and one would establish uniform standards for law enforcement to report lost, stolen and discarded guns. Christie is expected to sign them. New Jersey legislators are also discussing a bill to reduce magazine capacity limits to 10 from 15.
But not all gun news this week is bad. The Alabama Legislature passed a bill that, while not giving 2nd Amendment advocates in the State everything they wanted, at least moved the bar a little to the right. Among other things, the bill allows gun owners to keep their guns in their vehicles while at work. In the past, business owners could ban guns from their property completely, including their parking lot. It also turns Alabama from a “may issue” State to a “shall issue” in the case of concealed carry permits, and it gives the individual the option to purchase a five-year permit rather than only one-year permits. One bad aspect of the Alabama bill requires those without a concealed carry permit who wish to carry a weapon in their vehicle to transport their weapons unloaded and locked out of the reach of the driver.