On Friday, the California Senate passed a bill that would require newer model handguns sold in California to be microstamped, moving the bill to the Governor’s desk to await his signature.
AB 2847 and microstamping
Assembly Bill 2847, authored by Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco), would require microstamping in at least one place in the interior of any new handgun starting on July 1, 2022 in addition to current 2 microstamping markings needed on interior parts of firearms. This would mark the first time that microstamping, which imprints tiny markings on cartridges that had been fired from the weapon in question for quicker police identification, would be expanded on in California since AB 1471 came into law in 2013.
In addition to the new microstamping measure, the number of types of gun-law compliant handguns in California would be reduced as AB 2847 would introduce a system of removing three handguns from the current handgun roster that are non-compliant with current laws for each handgun added.
Assemblyman Chiu had written AB 2847 to reduce the number of black market firearms in the state, as well as help police solve firearm related crimes quicker.
“AB 2847, would require gunmakers to incorporate microstamping technology — to imprint microscopic characters that identify a handgun’s make, model, and serial number on the casing of every bullet that is fired,” said Assemblyman Chiu earlier this year. “Having this information is critical to solving countless crimes involving firearms, as well as to reducing the black market for guns.”
Supporters praise Senate passage
Supporters of the bill , most notably numerous gun control groups such as the Brady Campaign and law enforcement organizations, celebrated the bills second-to-last hurdle on Friday.
“In recent years, we have seen the rate of unsolved firearm assaults and homicides increase nationwide,” stated Brady Campaign President Kris Brown in a statement. “Assemblyman Chiu’s bill, AB 2847, is an elegant solution to this pressing problem, using the latest technology to respect the rights of gun owners while making California safer. This bill, soon to be law, will provide a new and much needed tool to California law enforcement in their efforts to solve crimes involving a firearm and will help to make all California communities safer.
“That this legislative victory comes over a decade after the state first passed a microstamping requirement that was met with resistance from the gun lobby cannot go unsaid. Crimes could have been stopped, solved and lives saved but for the gun lobby’s meritless opposition. This victory is long in coming.”
Opponents warn of negative AB 2847 consequences
Those who opposed the bill, including gun rights groups such as the NRA and gun manufacturers denounced the passage, saying that it would only lead to an increase in black market and untraceable weapons into California, as well as not improving public public safety.
“The LA Times said it best a few years ago when microstamping had come up before, pointing out that not only would more microstamping not lead to less crime, but it would make guns more expensive and deny personal protection to those with less money,” explained Bill Kirk, a California lawyer who has represented gun stores in the past, to the Globe. “So there’s no real benefit to it besides a possibility that police find a an intact and non-damaged microstamping at the scene of the crime, but even then the gun that fired it may not belong to the person who had it.
“What this bill will do, besides making guns more expensive, is scare gun makers from coming to California. They freaked out when the law was upheld two years ago, and now some of the top handgun companies won’t even sell in California. So it’s costing the state money. And who knows how many of those guns would have saved lives? The evidence that this is a bad bill has piled up, but now it’s close to being law.”
AB 2847 has moved through the Assembly and Senate almost completely along party lines since being introduced earlier this year. Following Friday’s Senate passage, the bill now awaits Governor Gavin Newsom’s signature.
Governor Newsom, who has signaled support for the bill, has until the end of September to sign the bill into law.