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Case Against California’s Insane Microstamping Law Moves Forward

by Bob Owens, 12/2/2016

The microstamping law was designed to force gun manufacturers to leave the state, and exists for no other reason.

The State of California would require firearms manufacturers to use technology that doesn’t exist in order to satisfy a totalitarian fantasy. The industry fired back with a lawsuit challenging the impossibility of complying with the law, which was dismissed by a flaky California judge. A wiser appellate court capable of understanding that laws can’t make fantasy become reality is now reversing that dismissal, according to a press release from the NSSF.

A California Appellate Court has reversed the Fresno Superior Court’s dismissal of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute (SAAMI) lawsuit seeking an injunction to block enforcement of the state’s ammunition microstamping law and remanded the case back to the lower court to hear arguments.


“We are pleased by today’s ruling because it means we will now be able to prove in court that this ill-considered law must be enjoined because it is literally impossible to comply with its requirements, and the law never requires the impossible. We have long maintained that this nascent, unproven and unreliable technology should not have been mandated. When we ultimately prevail in this case, law-abiding consumers in California will once again be able to purchase new models of pistols this law currently prevents our industry members from selling in the state,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel.


NSSF and SAAMI filed the lawsuit on behalf of their members against the State of California in Fresno Superior Court seeking to block the enforcement of the state’s microstamping law, violations of which are a criminal offense. The state statute enacted in 2007, but not made effective until May 2013, requires that all new models of semiautomatic handguns sold in the state had to be designed to incorporate this unproven and unreliable microstamping technology.


Under this law, firearms manufacturers would have to micro laser-engrave a gun’s make, model and serial number on two distinct parts of each handgun so that, in theory, this information would be imprinted on the cartridge casing when the pistol is fired.microstamping97-e1477324622145

“There is no existing microstamping technology that meets the requirement of this ill-considered law. It is not technologically possible to microstamp two locations in the gun and have the required information imprint onto the cartridge casing. In addition, the current state of the technology cannot reliably, consistently and legibly imprint on the cartridge primer the required identifying information from the tip of the firing pin, the only possible location where it is possible to micro-laser engrave the information,” said Keane.


In 2007, California Assembly Bill 1471 was passed and signed into law requiring microstamping on internal parts of new semiautomatic pistols. The legislation provided that this requirement would only became effective if the California Department of Justice certified that the microstamping technology is available to more than one manufacturer unencumbered by patent restrictions. The California legislature subsequently reorganized certain statutes concerning the regulation of firearms, including the microstamping law in 2010. On May 17, 2013, Attorney General Kamala D. Harris provided such certification. Harris was elected to the U.S. Senate in November.

We hammered the idiocy of the California microstamping law just over a month ago, while the clueless editors of the Los Angeles Times were singing its praises.

For those of us that actually know a few things about firearms, microstamping makes about as much sense as putting serial numbers on toilet paper squares or regulating unicorn farts.

Read more on Bearing Arms.





  1. Just a hair brain suggestion, but it does not seem like any one else is coming up with any thing better. I might suggest that because it seems that the union is coming down, that Jefferson and the rest of free Californians head when it seems best to them, that they take their families, like minded patriots(don’t look at skin color) and head for the nearest exit and hold the border. Hope and pray that like minded patriots would come to your aid. From where I stand I see the globalists are hoping and planning for something just like this to happen and I think we may have to play our cards. The powers that be seem to be doing all they can to end the Republic with a last blow and this may be our time.
    Sincerely, CB

    1. Simply solution, deregulate gun ownership in California and watch gun crime melt away like ice cream in July.

      1. True! California wants to be a huge Chicago were only criminals are armed with guns and law abiding citizens are not.

      2. Microstamping won’t stop crime and that is not the intention. “Acceptable” handguns are listed on a roster in CA. To get a gun on the roster, the manufacturer must submit a sample and a hefty fee for “testing”. If the handgun comes in four colors, that’s four samples and four fees. If the manufacturer makes any changes or upgrades on a model, it drops off the roster and cannot be sold in CA. The only way to get the “new” model on the roster is if it has microstamping, which doesn’t exist. So, handguns are dropping off the roster, and none are added. The end result will be will be no handguns that can be legally sold in California. This is the goal of the legislation. Population control through gun control.

  2. I say this is one of those laws that people should outright refuse to comply with. oath keepers and California militias should guard manufacturing plants and firearms stores from the state so they may continue to sell their product. Is that something that would be possible? (looking for an oath keeper to say)

    1. Sorry, but this won’t work with this law. Gun manufacturers will not ship weapons to California gun stores that cannot legally be sold in California. Gun stores won’t carry or sell weapons that would get them instantly shut down. And, as Oath Keepers, we are to keep it legal. It’s both common sense, and it’s in our bylaws. For several years, I tried speaking as a citizen against bad gun bills in Senate and Assembly committee hearings at the Capitol in Sacramento. All votes were straight party lines for increasing infringement. Some of us have solved our “keep and bear arms” problem by moving to a free state.

      1. Is that a “free state” of mind? I suspect many in this nation of unconstitutional laws behave more under the constitution as their law of the land than being slaves of a any state no matter how “free” they are or are not. I believe in we are a nation of laws, but the laws first have to pass constitutional scrutiny by “We The People….” Just adding to your comment. Cheers 🙂

        1. In California, “The table is tilted, folks. The game is rigged.” Open border. Driver’s licenses for illegal aliens. Voter registration at DMV. No voter ID. For relief, we have the 9th Circus. These are just a few of the problems. I saw even more as a poll observer. I love what California used to be, and I sincerely hope there is a way to save it. I do what I can from a distance.

  3. I moved out of that satellite state in 2013. These tyrants like CA. AG Kamala and the state assembly have exempted themselves from California’s gun laws. Does that mean that California politicians like Leland Yee can engage in gun running. The intent of the Second Amendment is to deter and fight against tyranny, and not for government to deter and oppress the American people.

  4. Thanks for finally writing about >Case Against California’s Insane Microstamping Law Moves Forward | Oath Keepers <Loved it!

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