California is providing a valuable lesson for defenders of Second Amendment rights around the country this year. Having failed to convince the courts that guns should be outright banned, they’ve done an end around move and passed a law which makes it so prohibitively expensive to produce their product that at least one major manufacturer is just going to stop selling some of their weapons there.
Gun manufacturer Smith & Wesson refused Thursday to comply with California’s controversial “microstamping” law, causing more of its products to fall off the state’s permissible firearms list and be ineligible for sale.
In a two-page statement on its website, Smith & Wesson criticized Assembly Bill 1471, which requires new or redesigned semiautomatic weapons to carry microstamping technology, imprinting its make, model and serial number onto shell casings when a bullet is fired.
Though the law was passed in 2007, language in the legislation stipulated it would go into effect when the necessary technology was widely available. It was not enacted until May 2013.
Critics argue that the technology is flawed. In its statement, Smith & Wesson said “a number of studies have indicated that microstamping is unreliable, serves no safety purpose, is cost prohibitive and, most importantly, is not proven to aid in preventing or solving crimes.”
“Smith & Wesson does not and will not include microstamping in its firearms,” the statement said. “The microstamping mandate and the company’s unwillingness to adopt this so-called technology will result in a diminishing number of Smith & Wesson semiautomatic pistols available for purchase by California residents.”
Microstamping is notoriously unreliable as a means of tracing weapons used in crimes, adds a huge cost burden to the manufacturer and the consumer, and can be easily thwarted by most criminals with even a rudimentary knowledge of mechanics and the ability to use a common file.
Over at Townhall,you can view a video report, including an interview with one gun shop owner who explains why this is a covert attack on Second Amendment rights hiding under the guise of enhanced law enforcement capacity. (Warning: The video is autoplay, so keep that in mind before clicking.)
Obviously the law’s author is proclaiming that of course this has nothing to do with the Second Amendment! They’re not trying to deny your right to keep and bear arms… they’re just trying to keep you safe. But as Smith & Wesson’s statement shows, the result is the same. By passing this law, California has effectively found a way to ban the sale of hand guns while still giving the appearance of allowing them. Sure… you can sell your hand guns here. You’re just going to have to re-tool your manufacturing process and drive the cost of the weapons to a prohibitive level.
Score one for the gun grabbers. Be on the lookout for similar legislation to to be brought up in state legislatures in blue states across the country.