CA Bullet-Microstamping Law Upheld By 9th Circuit, Even Though Technology Doesn't Exist

A California "microstamping" law that requires new semi-automatic handguns automatically imprint bullet casings with identifying information has been upheld by the 9th circuit court of appeals in a 2:1 split decision - despite the fact that the technology doesn't exist, reports ABC News.

The microstamping law - the first of its kind in the nation signed in 2007 by then-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, took effect in 2013. It requires that brand new handguns sold in California imprint the gun's make, model and serial number in "two or more places" on each bullet casing from a spent round. 

The result of the new law was Smith & Wesson, Ruger and other manufacturers opting to pull out of California.

Gun rights advocates have slammed the law, as the technology doesn't exist to stamp bullet casings in two places as the law is written, and even if it did, criminals could replace or file down the firing pin and any other mechanism to "microstamp." 

The law became effective as soon as the California Department of Justice certified that the technology used to create the imprint was available. When this certification occurred in 2013, the State clarified that the certification confirmed only “the lack of any patent restrictions on the imprinting technology, not the availability of the technology itself.”  In layman’s terms, the state was saying that nothing was stopping someone from developing the technology, so it was “available,” even though it wasn’t. -NRA-ILA

As a result, compliance with the law's "dual placement microstamping" requirement was both practically and legally "impossible," according to court documents from a lawsuit brought by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers Institute (SAAMI). In support of their claim, writes the NRA Institute for Legislative Action, the plaintiffs cited an existing provision of California law, Civil Code section 3531, which states “[t]he law never requires impossibilities.” 

California gun rights advocates say the law effectively bans the sale of new semi-automatic handguns in the state

And what did the 9th circuit say to that? 

Too bad - as residents can still buy used handguns that don't carry the yet-to-be invented microstamping technology, as well as any guns on a pre-approved roster - thus, the inability to buy a new semiautomatic handgun that's not on the roster doesn't infringe on the 2nd Amendment right to self-defense. 

Writing for the majority, Judge M. Margaret McKeown said the inability to buy particular guns did not infringe the 2nd Amendment right to self-defense in the home.

"Indeed, all of the plaintiffs admit that they are able to buy an operable handgun suitable for self-defense — just not the exact gun they want," she said.

McKeown, joined by Judge J. Clifford Wallace, also rejected the argument that the stamping technology was impossible to implement. -ABC News

Calguns foundation executive director Brandon Combs said that the 9th circuit used a less rigorous judicial standard in order to arrive at its "policy preferences." 

"Really what the 9th Circuit is saying and has said in other cases basically is as long as a person that is law abiding has access to one handgun inside of their home, then that's it," he said. "That's the extent of their right. We think that's quite wrong."

Dissenting from the majority was Judge Jay Bybee, who cited conflicting evidence over whether the microstamping technology was even technologically feasible - and that if the state adopted an impossible requirement that no gun manufacturer can satisfy, it would not help the state solve handgun crimes and would illegally restrict gun purchases

As Breitbart's resident Second Amendment columnist AWR Hawkins detailed in 2015, Maryland canceled a similar "ballistic fingerprinting" program after 15 years and $5 million dumped into the program resulted in no crimes solved. 

The law did not call for "microstamping" like California's - rather it relied on unique metallurgical "fingerprints" left behind by a gun's firing pin. Each new gun sold in the state would need to be fired one time, and the resulting bullet casing sent to the state's police headquarters. Unfortunately, while the forensic technology to match a bullet casing with a gun exists - the computerized system designed to sort and matched images of casings never worked - so the state canceled the program

Of course, just wait until DNA identification is implemented:


chunga Son of Loki Sun, 08/05/2018 - 13:57 Permalink

FBI will be exempt from all of this. They just pick up their brass and lie about it anyway. Maybe Tyler can find some time for this. "Oregonlive" ain't too good.

I have no idea why they're making a big deal about the amount of shots this Asterita took. It was literally a shooting gallery at the truck. There was a little girl in the truck incidentally. The FBI supervisor testified he could neither hear nor remember the shots Asterita lied about. Of course.

12 takeaways from Week 2 of FBI agent's trial in LaVoy Finicum shooting…


In reply to by Son of Loki

Free This chunga Sun, 08/05/2018 - 13:58 Permalink

They want our guns, I say come take 'em, I will share my bullets with them one at a time! Mobs or the police state, makes no difference to me! I put my initials on every bullet!!!!!

Fuck you communists! From my cold dead hands!

Down vote away communist motherfuckers!!!!!! i am so fucking done with socialists - PLEASE TAKE TO THE STREETS!!!! AND to .gov PLEASE BAN OUR GUNS!!!!!

Let's get it on motherfuckers!!!!!!!!!!!! Empty headed prattling fools.

In reply to by chunga

HilteryTrumpkin Free This Sun, 08/05/2018 - 14:04 Permalink

Your Cold dead hands can be arranged I am sure of that. Still here spewing the real truth as you see it?  Calling people communists isn't any way of trying to establish fucks you stupid ignorant fuck.  Very few real communists posting here on ZH but that won't stop you from spewing your bullshit like it was some sort of fucking gospel.

In reply to by Free This

Billy the Poet WarPony Sun, 08/05/2018 - 15:56 Permalink

 Hefalonicle lock-stick Sun, 08/05/2018 - 13:34 Permalink

This is how they get rid of guns. Make stupid laws that affect the ammo. Constitution doesn't say anything about ammo.


css1971 Hefalonicle Sun, 08/05/2018 - 13:39 Permalink

Constitution doesn't say anything about guns.


css1971 is right. The Second Amendment guarantees the right to bear arms which includes both firearms and ammunition.


In reply to by WarPony

JackH Billy the Poet Mon, 08/06/2018 - 02:41 Permalink

I believe any and all attempts to effectively limit gun use by attacking bullets is fataly flawed inasmuch as the weapon is rendered useless w/o ammunition and is an integral part of the weapon. Is it me or, does anyone else find it interesting that the constitution refers to "arms", yet laws INFRINGING (which are any and all) on our unalienable right, refer to "firearms", rather than "arms"? Could this be more semantic deceit to make us believe their laws are enforceable when, in fact, they're not? I wonder if this distinction has been tried and adjudicated?

In reply to by Billy the Poet

QuantumEasing JackH Mon, 08/06/2018 - 20:46 Permalink

Jack wins the kewpie doll. Nice to see SOMEONE is actually thinking. If I could give you 100+ I would.

You are correct. The word "firearm" is a "word of art," and is trademarked by the private corporation known as the ATF. The "laws" are not in fact laws (no enacting clause as required by the Constitution), but acts of private law. Oh, they will still nail you to the wall in court (mostly because people have no idea who or what they are), but it is not done "lawfully." But lawful went away more than 80 years ago, and now it's all just legal/financial.

If someone really wants their hair blown back, actually read Title 18 of the US Code. Pay special attention to the definition of "United States," "States," and "Interstate Commerce." Note how the only "States" mentioned are DC, Puerto Rico, Northern Marianas, and Guam. And ONLY those states (the word "includes" has it's own statutory definition within the code, essentially "meaning everything that is of similar class, but specifically excluding those things not in the same class." In other words, applies only the Federal Territories.

Everyone needs to realize the Country they think they live in went away in 1933 (they told you it was going to be a "New Deal" and nobody objected).

It's ALL been deceit, trick, and deception since then, but as long as you are given a choice (consentual), it is perfectly moral (clean hands doctrine) to those that would enforce it.

In reply to by JackH

are we there yet 1 Alabama Sun, 08/05/2018 - 22:50 Permalink

Small laser bar code is doable on either guns or ammo prior to sale. Then they can be lasered or filed off after a sale if anyone has time to waste. Crazy people wont bother to remove, criminal users will likely have untraceable stolen guns. Any government agency that the bar codes were sent to will be under funded and behind in organizing to the point of being useless. So what is the use?

In reply to by 1 Alabama

Free This HilteryTrumpkin Sun, 08/05/2018 - 14:09 Permalink

Go take a shit and eat it, son! Tell you what, you be the FIRST to show up at my place and take 'em? Want my fucking street address??? ASSHOLE!

You and your kind are barking up the wrong tree!! Enjoy your tyranny FOOL!!!

Go try to talk to communists you fool! They will listen to you right?


Your kind makes me sick. Sit off to the side while real men take care of you, you panty waist!

Stop me big boy? You can't do shit but howl at the moon.

In reply to by HilteryTrumpkin

HilteryTrumpkin Free This Sun, 08/05/2018 - 14:29 Permalink

For the last time MFB I am not interested in your pervert scat sex play. Keep that stuff to yourself. I don't know if anybody told you but Communism isn't really a thing here in the states. there might be a handful but if there was 1 here reading ZH I would be surprised. Here is a a little hint for special needs commenters like you. Registering Democrat or Republic doesn't make you a communist. Disagreeing with ignorant people like you also not communists. You call so many folks communists I am starting to think you protest to much. Are you a fucking communist MFB? You are you little fuck face that is your problem isn't it. Trying to incite civil war while you dived and conquer.

In reply to by Free This

SILVERGEDDON Free This Sun, 08/05/2018 - 16:05 Permalink

Hey, Free This - stop with the foaming at the mouth extreme right wing giving the extreme left wing nuts something to fight about attitude and posts.

It is low IQ feed the flames give the left an excuse for more stupid laws and actions.

It makes you an extreme left wing tool and lackey.

Wake the fuck up, and start posting intelligent rational well thought out arguments and actions to handicap the left, and cut their strategic planning off at the knees. 

Be a better citizen - we are all counting on you to channel that there energy in a winning way.

No more mo-tard muscle bound beating off while typing posts.

In reply to by Free This

GoHillary2016 Free This Sun, 08/05/2018 - 22:23 Permalink

Monkey faced boy the real traitor here is you. You are the one trying to incite civil unrest. Civil war would give you the first erection you have had in 30 years but it is but that isn't at all patriotic. You ever get out off the house much you fucking loser?  We all meet,  work with, have coffee with all different types of people that voted different ways for different reasons. 99.9% are not going to start shooting each other over some fucking politician or how we all voted. The American people are way stronger than that. There are nuts out there and you encourage them , incite them rile them up and then deny it.  You run around like chicken little with his head cut off screaming communist and socialist like fucking Joe McCarthy and frankly it is fucking pathetic. Yes we are all getting fucked by the owners of this country. the American peopl are never going to solve that problem by fighting each other in some fake left vs right civil war. That war serves somebody Else's needs not ours. Are you even from this country I wonder,  you make that claim but I think tho protests a bit to much

In reply to by Free This

FreedomWriter Free This Sun, 08/05/2018 - 16:29 Permalink

When I was in school in the 80's the CPUSA reckoned it had one percent of the electorate's vote. Most observers reckoned half of CPUSA members were working for the Feds. But whatever floats your boat. 

To me it looks like both halves are still running around and causing problems. I recommend we nuke it from orbit, just to be sure.

In reply to by Free This

jmack Free This Sun, 08/05/2018 - 17:10 Permalink

Then why did you say:


Go take a shit and eat it, son! Tell you what, you be the FIRST to show up at my place and take 'em? Want my fucking street address??? ASSHOLE!


     blowhard keyboard warrior,  worse than a commie on the street, they at least get off their ass.  you just spew shit on forums.  just shut the fuck up and go away. you are pathetic,  and quite frankly, appear to need mental health attention.

In reply to by Free This