A bill signed into law by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2007 is finally in effect in California. All new semi-automatic handguns must be equipped to microstamp bullet casings with the make, model and serial number of the gun.
The law should have gone into effect in 2010, but didn't because of legal issues. One of the patents was taken to task because of gun rights groups hoping to stop the law’s implementation.
The law fails to apply to the 1,200 guns already in the state’s firearm registry.
Pro-gun groups opposed the measure.
"Manufactures are not going to create a special run of firearms with all of these very burdensome manufacturing technologies just so they can comply and produce firearms for one market," said Brandon Combs, executive director of the Calguns Foundation.
In a federal court filing, Calguns, a San Carlos based group, challenged the state’s handgun roster as unconstitutional. The group paid $555 to extend a patent, Combs said, because they wanted to “audit” the California Department of Justice, which called the patents “unencumbered.”
Attorney General Kamala Harris certified that patents were no longer an issue in a Friday announcement. "This very important technology will help us as law enforcement in identifying and locating people who improperly and illegally use and discharge firearms," Harris said.
About 40 percent of homicides in the state are unsolved and most of those involve firearms.
Author of the law, former state Assemblyman Mike Feuer, called Friday a “monumental day for law enforcement.”
Feuer said the law "moves California to the forefront of the nation in combating gun crime.”