Calif. Supreme Court tosses challenge to bullet stamping law – Gun groups argued law was impossible to comply with

In this June 28, 2014 file photo, a bullet casing flies from the rifle as Derrick Campbell fires downrange at targets during the second annual Freedom Shoot at Pawnee Sportsmen Center near Briggsdale, Colo. The California Supreme Court will decide whether state laws can be challenged in court on the grounds that complying with them is impossible in a lawsuit over a California law that requires new models of semi-automatic handguns to stamp identifying information on bullet casings. (Joshua Poison/The Greeley Tribune via AP, file)

By SUDHIN THANAWALA,  Associated Press  SAN FRANCISCO (AP) 06/28 — The California Supreme Court threw out a lawsuit Thursday that sought to block an unusual law requiring new models of semi-automatic handguns to stamp identifying information on bullet casings when shots are fired to make it easier to solve crimes.

The court ruled unanimously that gun rights groups could not overturn the requirement by arguing it was impossible to comply with the law that supporters touted as a first in the nation. The groups argued that the technology did not exist, and a law could not mandate something that was not possible.

Attorneys for the state acknowledged that microstamping technology is “emerging” but said lawmakers often enact laws to force industries to innovate.

Writing for six of the justices, Associate Justice Goodwin Liu said impossibility can sometimes lead courts to excuse a failure to comply with a law, but it can’t be the basis for invalidating it.

In this Jan. 5, 2016 file photo, empty bullet casings sit in a container at the National Armory gun store and gun range in Pompano Beach, Fla. The California Supreme Court will decide whether state laws can be challenged in court on the grounds that complying with them is impossible in a lawsuit over a California law that requires new models of semi-automatic handguns to stamp identifying information on bullet casings. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

 

Larry Keane, general counsel for one of the plaintiffs, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, said he may ask the court to reconsider its ruling because it appeared to misunderstand the aim of the lawsuit.

It was not seeking to invalidate the state law but to block its enforcement until technology made it possible to comply with the stamping requirement, Keane said.

“It is undisputed and not contested by the state that it is literally impossible to comply,” he said.

The California attorney general’s office said it did not concede that compliance with the law is impossible.

“Today’s ruling confirms that California can create incentives for the gun industry to make products that serve the public’s needs,” Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement. “Innovation and technology will continue to drive California to be a leader.”

Washington, D.C., has a similar law, according to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, which filed a court brief in support of California’s law.

The California law requires new-model pistols to have a microscopic array of characters in two spots that identify the gun’s make, model and serial number and are imprinted on the casings when the weapon is fired.

Gun rights groups say it is not possible to “microstamp” two areas of a firearm. Only the tip of the firing pin can be microstamped, and current technology doesn’t allow the stamp to reliably, consistently and legibly imprint on the cartridge primer from that part of the gun, they say.

The law, which Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed in 2007 and took effect in 2013, doesn’t affect guns already on the state’s official firearm roster. Only new or modified semi-automatic handguns sold in California must be equipped with the technology.

Keane said the law has significantly reduced the number of handguns available for sale in the state.

A separate lawsuit challenging the law on constitutional grounds is pending before a federal appeals court in San Francisco.

https://www.apnews.com/a2efaf83c5a64e9ab26526895b36f0f0/Court-nixes-challenge-to-rare-California-bullet-stamping-law

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Posted in: Court Rulings, Firearms, Gun Control, Legislation, Public Policy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Terms of Use for Posting Comments

Terms of Use

This site (the “Site”) is operated and maintained by Law Enforcement Education Foundation, Corporation (“Company”). Throughout the Site, the terms “we”, “us” and “our” refer to Company.  The words “user,” “you” and “your” as used herein refer to you.

Please read these terms and conditions of use (“Terms of Use”) carefully before contributing content. If you do not agree to these Terms of Use, please do not contribute content. Your use of the Site is subject to the Terms and Conditions found here .

By contributing content to the Site, you represent and warrant that you are at least eighteen (18) years old and that you have read and understand these Terms of Use and any amendments thereto and agree to be bound by them. If you are not at least eighteen (18) years old or you do not agree and accept these Terms of Use, you are prohibited from contributing content.

From time to time, we may permit users to submit content to the Site.  You hereby acknowledge and agree that by submitting remarks, comments, suggestions, ideas, graphics, feedback, edits, concepts, comments, photographs, illustrations and other materials (other than personal information and/or registration information) through the Site (individually and collectively, “Submissions”), you (i) grant us a nonexclusive, royalty-free, perpetual, transferable, irrevocable and fully sub-licensable right to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, translate, distribute, publish, create derivative works from and publicly display and perform such Submissions throughout the world in any media, now known or hereafter created, without attribution to you; (ii) grant us the right to pursue at law any person or entity that violates your and/or our rights in your Submissions; and (iii) forever waive any and all of your rights, including but not limited to moral rights, if any, in and to your Submissions, including, without limitation, any all rights or requirements of attribution or identification of you as the author of the Submission or any derivative thereof.  We reserve the right to remove any of your Submissions from the Site, in whole or in part, without notice to you, for any reason or no reason.

Submissions are made voluntarily. Any submissions which include personally identifiable information are subject to our Privacy Policy found here .  You may not upload or otherwise publish content on the Site that (i) is confidential to you or any third party; (ii) is untrue, inaccurate, false or other than an original work of your authorship; (iii) that relates to or impersonates any other person; (iv) violates the copyright, trademark, patent or other intellectual property rights of any person or entity; (v) contains any content, personally identifiable information or other information, or materials of any kind that relate or refer to any other person or entity other than the provider of the products, goods or services to which the Submission relates; or (vi) violates any law, or in any manner infringes or interferes with the rights of others, including but not limited to the use of names, information, or materials that (A) libel, defame, or invade the privacy of any third party, (B) are obscene or pornographic, (C) are harmful, threatening, offensive, abusive, harassing, vulgar, false or inaccurate, racially, sexually, ethnically or are otherwise objectionable or otherwise contrary to the laws of any place where such Submissions may be accessed; (D) constitute personal attacks on other individuals; (E) promote criminal, immoral or illegal activity; (F) promote or advertise any person, product or service or solicit funds; or (G) are deemed confidential by any contract or policy.

You are solely responsible for any Submissions you make and their accuracy. We take no responsibility and assume no liability for any Submissions posted by you or any third party.

Unless approved by us in writing in advance, you agree not to: (i) provide or create a link to the Site; or (ii) create any frames at any other sites pertaining to any of the content located on the Site.

We reserve the right, in our discretion, to update, change or replace any part of these Terms of Use for Posting Comments by posting updates and/or changes to our Site.  It is your responsibility to check this page periodically for changes.  Your continued use of, and/or access to the Site, following the posting of any changes to these Terms of Use for Posting Comments, constitutes your acceptance of those changes.