Microstamping not working out so well


It seems the Cali politicians overestimated the technology in its current form. The Sign On San Diego reports (emphasis mine)

California Attorney General Jerry Brown has not certified the law, which is required before it can take effect as scheduled on Jan. 1, and his aides could not say when that may happen.

“The problem I have with this is it can’t be done,” said Kevin Reid, Ruger’s general counsel. “The legislation says it has to work 100 percent of the time and there is nobody, nobody including Todd Lizotte himself, who would say it will always work.”

I think the last thing the Attorney General wants is for the law challenged in court because compliance is impossible.

Many firearms companies are struggling to comply with California’s 2006 mandate that all new handgun models include a loaded chamber indicator and a mechanism that prevents firing when a magazine is removed.

In the more than three years since, just one new semiautomatic model has been approved by the state. Two others are pending, Gasparac said.

Aside from the Ruger SR-9, no new models of semi-auto handguns have been approved in the past three years! I would be surprised if a month goes by without a new handgun model going on sale in the United States. I remember reading that even cosmetic changes, such as a different finish, to a pistol count as a whole new model that must be certified for sale in the state.

Learn more about Microstamping at Joe Huffman’s blog.

Hat Tip: Ride Fast & Shoot Straight.



Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • Freiheit

    I don’t remember the term, but is this a bargaining tool? They’re asking for the impossible, then once the public understands its impossible they offer a “compromise”.

    For example rather than manufacturers forcing things like loaded-chamber indicators and no-fire without magazine cutouts into designs, it is countered with a law requiring mandatory safety training to address the behaviours that lead to the “need” for those addons.

    The effect is that the anti-gun crowd appears to be backing down, when in reality they’re getting a lot more than they had coming in.

    The other detestable tactic are the organizations called “Blah Blah’s Against Gun Violence”. I’m against gun violence. I bet the NRA even has a statement about gun violence. The problem is these organizations are not stopping gun violence, they are attempting to stop guns.

    Every time I read about this kind of crap I am reminded of why I got out of politics as well as why I got in.

  • B Woodman

    I’ve said it before & I’ll say it again.

    With apologies to all gun manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers. And to all the good and lawful citizens, who would have to hide whatever arms and ammunition they already have, or hide them deeper, against unlawful seizure and confiscation.

    ALL gun and ammunition manufacturers need to band together & agree to STOP selling weapons, parts, service & ammo to and within the People’s Republik of Kalifornication. Every “reasonable” gun law that’s passed becomes more and more UN-reasonable. The anti-gunners can never be made happy by your efforts, except to the extreme end of total gun ban, gun confiscation, and bankruptcy.

    Show the Kalifornication politicos what a total gun ban would be like. Stop supplying the “Only Ones” with the tools of their trade. Police, security guards, prison guards, state-run National Guard; all without the quick and handy replacing of arms and ammo. When they become desperate enough for the need to replenish, what will they do? Where will they go? And considering Kalifornication’s state of bankruptcy, would any other state sell to them (other then for cold, hard cash, preferably gold)? How much would they be willing to spend? Or bend to make concessions? Or repeal certain laws that would allow Kalifornication to be more gun-friendly?

    Gun and ammunition manufacturers, YOU HAVE POWER. You just need to use that power, flex your muscles, and get the bullies of Kalifornication off your back.

  • Dom

    The thing that gets me about microstamping is that it’s so easy to work around. I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but if you’re committing crimes with a gun anyway, why wouldn’t you commit one more and sand your firing pin and/or breech face? Firing pin would be a piece of cake…breech face is harder but doable. It’s not as if the headspace change is going to make a big difference in the effectiveness of your murder weapon, unless you’re murdering from a distance. And even if you don’t tamper, you can reduce your odds by using a brass catcher or just collecting the brass. It’s not as if every gun crime is a full-auto driveby that leaves evidence nicely scattered in the street for the police. The futility astounds me…

  • Dom

    Sorry, there’s not even a headspace change if you file off the microstamp on the breech face…I mixed myself up, I was thinking about the face edge of the chamber.

  • We were telling these elected crooks of ours here in CA that it would NOT work from the beginning. They don’t care. They are running their own agenda and common sense be damned.

  • Mu

    So much fun to be had with that, like manufacturing your own microstamping setup and leave 44 mag cases with glock pin stamp behind. I can see it now “members of the jury, if the brass don’t fit you must acquit”.

  • Freiheit

    Mu – I love that idea, but they’ll probably make it a felony to mismatch or obscure these stampings much like its illegal now to file the serial numbers off.

    I wonder what happens if the firing pin breaks? Have to send it to a certified gunsmith or back to the manufacturer? Ring up the records department and register your firing pin?

  • Matt Groom

    Many years ago, I read a report of the which types of firearms were being used in crimes by caliber. This was during the AWB so the focus of the article was how infrequently rifles of any caliber or design were used, but the number one crime gun and caliber was the .38 Special revolver. Why? Because it doesn’t vomit out it’s cases, of course!

    Did anyone see “Mr. Brooks”? He used a plastic news paper bag wrapped around his hand with a rubber band to catch the brass. I thought that was cleaver, but I doubt the writer of that film was the first to think of that. Criminals are a wily and ingenious bunch when they have to be. As they say, necessity is the mother of invention.

    B Woodman is absolutely right. The firearms industry should stop selling to CA entirely, just cut them off of all new firearms. Police, State agencies, everyone, until they stop acting like shit heads. If I was selling in the state of CA, I would not sell any guns to LEOs that I could not sell to civilians, and I would charge them the same price. Would somebody else get the sale? Probably, but they’d also take the heat when a shady cop sold guns to a gang member who used it in a crime, too.

  • Barrett no longer sells firearms to the state of CA, LE or other wise. There currently is a lawsuit against the state of CA for the “gun list” of approved weapons. It looks like a solid case and has the potential to start over turning a LOT of bad gun laws here thanks to the Heller decision.

  • Matt Groom

    Ronnie Barrett is one of my heroes.

  • jack

    The history of guns in California isn’t as simple as outsiders make it out to be. Some of it goes back to racial divisions in southern California primarily, the government trying to oppress minorities. For a state that’s heavily populated by Republicans, rich conservative and military, people shouldn’t believe the nonsense its a state of gun hating liberals. Primarily the laws aren’t passed by popular vote, they are passed by the legislature simply because people don’t care.

    People that haven’t living for a long time in California don’t remember or see the very obvious difference in things like drive by shooting, murder and random violence that ___some___ of the gun laws helped fix. Most of the modern guns laws like the one above are foolish and in many cases just plain stupid.

    I welcome the stupidity of gun manufacturers not selling in California, if they are that stupid they aren’t qualified to be building __weapons__. How many years until they go bankrupt?

  • Matt Groom

    Wait, I’m confused. Are you saying that some of CA’s arbitrary gun laws are good because they have their origins in Government oppression of minorities? Pretty much all gun laws are designed to oppress minorities because as Ayn Rand said “the smallest minority is the individual”. Either way, I disagree with your statement the way it is written.

    Explain to me, Jack, how Gun Laws stopped drive by shootings? Or how they stopped road rage, or armed robbery, or rape or any other crime?

    “Don’t do it!”
    “Oh! Okay. I was really gonna murder that ni**a, but since it’s illegal to use a gun, I guess I won’t!”

    I was stationed in CA when I was a Marine, and I sure didn’t know any Pro-Gun Republican/Conservative/Libertarian/Independents who were actually FROM CA. I knew lots of guys like that from other places, but being stationed there doesn’t make it your home, and that means the legislature doesn’t give a shit what you think. Not like you can vote the bastards out, now is it?

    For all of the rich, conservative, Republicans in this country, I can’t think of a single one who lives in CA who doesn’t have a radio show that I can name. Can you name any?

    When the people don’t care, it means they tacitly support the actions of the legislature. If they cared, the legislature wouldn’t do these things, because they’d get voted out. The opposite of support is NOT apathy, it’s condemnation and action. This argument does not vindicate CA as the most Left leaning state on the Left coast. Reagan was the governor 1965-75. Wow. That was, like, BEFORE Disco.

    As far as manufactures not selling in CA, let me just point out to you, in case you are not aware, that there are 49 other states. I know Obama said there was 58, but there’s only 50, I assure you. CA is only one state. As for stupidity leading to bankruptcy, the gun manufacturers who refuse to sell or service guns to CA are posting record sales figures and profits, and CA is issuing IOUs to State employees. Who’s stupid again?

  • B Woodman

    Matt;
    I think Obum-bum said that there were 57 states. One off, but close enough. As for the rest, YES! Continue to give misinformed “useful idiots” like Jack, hell.

    As you might already know, the first gun control laws were enacted right after the Civil War, aimed at freed slaves in the South.

  • Matt Groom

    I don’t mean to be insulting to Jack, who is only trying to defend his home state. I merely wish to point out that if that state is to survive the spirit of Liberty must be rejuvenated within the people of that state, lest it rot in third world squalor as “Aztlan”.

    B Woodman is right about the quote of course. Obama said he’d been in “…fifty…seven other states. One more to go.” He also said he wanted to visit Alaska and Hawaii, but his staff wouldn’t allow him to go. 57+1+Alaska+Hawaii= 60 states. Geez. I’m sure glad we finally have a president who isn’t and idiot.

  • jack

    I’m saying don’t blame one segment of society. To say that the laws in California that regulate guns are all liberal initiatives is a blatant lie. Many of the recent stupid gun laws come from the liberal legislature, but many come from rich conservatives or an apathetic populace.

    I can explain how gun laws controlled drive by shootings. By banning weapons in the passenger areas of cars police could prevent and arrest individuals driving the streets with guns. Just because someone is a criminal does not mean that have been convicted. Who else but a criminal needs to have a submachine gun or assault rifle in the passenger compartment of their car. It was an extremely effective law, people that haven’t lived in CA shouldn’t comment on what they don’t know. You’re talking about a state with MASSIVE organized crime, gangs etc. After many many law changes I can testify the difference in crime is extremely dramatic. Many of these laws are out of date or foolish at this point, but many in their time help break the back of massive violent crime.

    I don’t know what imaginary world people are from that California doesn’t elect REPUBLICAN governors, doesn’t elect some of the most conservative representatives in the country fairly regularly. My representative is probably one of the most conservative in the entire country. People confuse gun selection with pro-con gun support. Just because people don’t support $10 guns or assault weapons doesn’t make you anti-gun. It the single minded behavior that makes thing in California worse and worse from both sides.

  • jack

    Just a couple more things.

    Gun show restrictions… anyone in California remember how that got banned. Gun dealers at gun shows doing straw buys of sub machine guns and assault weapons to gang members. Actually straw buys to criminals in general were showing up on tv rather commonly. Should they ban the gun? Probably not but at the same time the people that protect the guns protect the dealers as well. Its easy for them to ban the gun that get the bad dealers.

    The laws in California will never change for the better if everyone chooses an extreme side. You just end up with stupid results like the micro stamping.

  • Jack, you can still have a long gun inside the vehicle with you; the only restriction is placed on handguns. Crime went DOWN after they imposed gun restrictions? really? Can you back that up with something like FBI stats?

    Criminals and especially gang bangers have NO respect for the law. Passing laws which restrict firearms doesn’t affect criminals. They don’t care or respect our laws.

    We have to choose an extreme side or we will loose all our rights. Say you have $100. You meet with those who wish to take all your money away and strike a deal. You give up $40. In 2 years “they” come back and want more. This time you give up $20. See where this is going? If you let them take anything they’ll slowly and methodically chisel away until you have nothing left.

    As for your gun dealers making illegal sales to gang members, throw them under the bus and prosecute them to the FULL extent of the law. It is those dirt bags who give the anti’s power to take away our gun rights.

    And as a side note, you’ve got to admit the news here in CA often will make a mountain out of a mole hill for anything pertaining to firearms.

  • jack

    I apologize if I came off harsh or incorrect. I just get extremely annoyed when people blame everyone in California or liberals. Its a complicated issue but in California there is a lot of history and I wish people wouldn’t ignore it.

    People forget the dealers back in the 1980s (ish) dealing out in an irresponsible way then coming back to the public and saying stuff like “what I’m doing is technically legal”. Even when they were knowingly dealing heavily (not all but a significant number) with criminals or buyers that were reselling to criminals. Selling stuff like assault rifles to teenagers as their first gun (basically treating them like toys). Bulk straw buyers etc. In my opinion there is a moral aspect in the way you function in business. If you know or should know you shouldn’t be selling guns to certain people, just because its legal doesn’t make it ok. Especially during that time period. If you don’t want to be regulated or over-regulated moderate your own behavior in a responsible way ___community___.

    The dealers ended up basically challenging the government and public to create laws restricting their actions. You ended up with the mess you have today. Once you get that train moving its not going to stop until it hits a wall (for example the law associated with this thread).

    Its obviously more complicated but its also not so simple as saying stupid liberals. There’s plenty of blame and its not one sided.

    Obviously people raise the issue of statistics. Everyone knows that’s a game. Living something and observing those around you in your community are more meaningful. Its never one thing criminal punishment is extremely harsh, the economy is better, etc etc.

    I think people can overstate the lack of availability of guns in California. If you were a collector or interested in very specific configurations of a model it would suck. Some models are harder to get or modified to make them less desirable but they’re mostly still there.

    Handguns are a different story. I honestly hope nobody fixes micro-stamping. It forces lawmakers and the public to rethink the direction they’ve been going. To readjust and back out the law.