California bill aims to jumpstart 'microstamps' on handguns

Full Screen
1 / 2

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

FILE - In this June 11, 2019, file photo, Chris Puehse, owner of Foothill Ammo, displays .45-caliber ammunition for sale at his store in Shingle Springs, Calif. California could expand its law requiring unique identifiers on every bullet casing to include weapons used by law enforcement, a move that proponents said is another attempt to help investigate shootings by police. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Gun control advocates are making a new attempt to force the gun industry to comply with California's unique law requiring individual identifiers on all bullet casings, a mandate that has been toothless since it was approved in 2007.

The law requires gun manufacturers to adopt micro-stamping technology on new types of handguns introduced in California.

The intent was to imprint a unique set of microscopic characters on all cartridge casings when weapons are fired, linking bullet casings to the guns that discharged them.

Gun makers have said the technology is unreliable and to get around the law have not introduced new gun models in the state since the law was passed.

New legislation would expand the law to include weapons used by law enforcement, which are currently exempt. The thinking is that forcing police officers into the marketplace would prompt manufacturers to improve technology so they can sell the weapons to members of law enforcement.

The bill by Democratic Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel, co-founder of the Legislature’s Gun Violence Prevention Working Group, would add law enforcement starting in 2023.

“The main priority here is to really overcome the obstinance from gun manufacturers,” Gabriel told The Associated Press. ”They’ve resisted at every step of the way.”

Mark Oliva, spokesman for the National Shooting Sports Foundation that is the trade association for the firearm industry, said microstamping is an “ unworkable technology."