Earlier this week, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law a bill that requires newer model handguns in California to be microstamped.
Gun manufacturers and firearm advocates denounced the decision, noting that it not only violates Second Amendment rights and would increase black market activity and and non-registered weapons in the state, but would also hurt economically during a time of economic downturn.
Controversial AB 2847 signed into law
Assembly Bill 2847, authored by Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco), specifically notes that microstamping, which imprints tiny markings on cartridges that had been fired from the weapon for quicker police identification, will have to be in at least one part of the interior of the handgun, replacing the current law of having it on two or more places that had been deemed difficult by gun manufacturers and law enforcement alike. The bill will also quicken the process of having more microstamped guns instead of non-microstamped guns in circulation by removing three non-compliant handguns from the state roster of sellable handguns for every new, AB 2847 following model added to the list.
For any new handgun joining the state roster, it will also need to have a chamber load indicator and a magazine disconnect mechanism in addition to the microstamp.
Assemblyman Chiu wrote the bill to increase the percentage of identifiable microstamped guns in California and reduce the number of black market firearms in the state, helping police solve firearm related crimes quicker.
“This is a bill that will assist law enforcement in solving gun-related crimes via using micro-stamping technology and reduce the number of accidental gun deaths and injuries,” said Assemblyman Chiu (D-San Francisco) earlier this year.
“Having this information is critical to solving countless crimes involving firearms, as well as to reducing the black market for guns,” added the Assemblyman in another statement.
Newsom signs highly contested bill
The bill was vigorously opposed this year by both Assembly and Senate Republicans, along with a few Democrats either joining in opposition or deciding to not vote on the issue. However both were eventually passed, with the Senate being closer than many predicted with a 25-12 vote with 3 non-voters.
Newsom, who has backed many gun-limiting measures in the past, including the only-recently overturned Proposition 63, which prohibited higher-capacity magazines and required background checks for purchasing ammunition, in 2016 while Lt. Governor, ultimately signed the bill.
“Last night Gov. Newsom signed our microstamping bill,” exclaimed Assemblyman Chiu on Twitter on Wednesday. “The gun industry has gone to great lengths to avoid implementing microstamping & other life saving tools in CA. We finally have a way to hold the industry accountable.”
Last night Gov @GavinNewsom signed our microstamping bill!
The gun industry has gone to great lengths to avoid implementing microstamping & other life saving tools in CA.
We finally have a way to hold the industry accountable. https://t.co/2edr3Cdw63
— David Chiu (@DavidChiu) September 30, 2020
Many celebrated the bill’s passage on Wednesday, including Assemblyman Chiu and gun control organizations including the Brady California United Against Gun Violence, which had urged its signing throughout the year.
“Today, Gov. Newsom prioritized common-sense reforms and public safety to protect all Californians,” Brady president Kris Brown said in a statement. “The passage of a bill to implement microstamping technology on new models of semiautomatic pistols is evidence of just that, coming over a decade after the state first passed a microstamping requirement that the gun industry has resisted ever since. That law will now aid law enforcement in solving crimes and preventing violence throughout the state for years to come.”
Gun manufacturers, firearm advocates denounce signing
“Ever since the microstamping law was first passed seven years ago, no new handguns have been put up for sale on the roster in California,” Bill Kirk, a California lawyer who has represented gun stores in the past, explained in an interview with the Globe. “In fact, they were scared off long before that, the 2013 bill only being the stake in the coffin.”
“As I explained before, California has scared a lot of gun makers from selling here because of their restrictions, and this will only hurt that. So we’ll be seeing a lot of guns from out of state, unregistered guns, and so on. A lot of my clients have reported a loss of business due to clients simply finding other ways around the current law. When this law becomes active in a few years, it’s only going to increase that.”
“It won’t make things safer.”
The NRA also released a statement on Wednesday.
“We continue to express our frustration over the continuing attack on our Second Amendment Rights with his signing of AB 2847,” noted the firearm organization. “This legislation is nothing more than a means to reduce the options you have to protect yourself and your family.”
AB 2847 is set to become law on July 1, 2022.