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California 'Roll Forward' Microstamping Punishes Firearm Innovation

California 'Roll Forward' Microstamping Punishes Firearm Innovation

California’s microstamping plan is even worse than normal microstamping because it punishes gun manufacturers for firearm innovation.  

When Breitbart News announced that Smith & Wesson and Sturm, Ruger, & Co. were done selling semi-automatic firearms in California due to microstamping requirements, many wondered why the requirements were considered so onerous and if they merited a complete withdrawal from the state.

Sources explain that CA is requiring “roll forward” microstamping, which means manufacturers must revamp their production line to incorporate microstamping when a design change makes a given firearm better. From the point of improvement forward they must identify their firearms with a firing pin fingerprint or microstamp.

This means a handgun which was on the CA approved roster yesterday is considered a new firearm and must meet the microstamping requirement rolling forward if it receives a change as small as an internal component – a new spring, for example.

The cost of complying with this requirement is unknown, but normal production costs will certainly rise. The unknown aspect of it results from the fact that microstamping has yet to prove reliable, and the size, makeup, and expense of a database to store microstamped firearm information remains in flux. 

Announcing the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s (NSSF) lawsuit against CA’s microstamping requirement, NSSF senior vice president Lawrence Keane said:

There is no existing microstamping technology that will reliably, consistently, and legibly imprint the required identifying information by a semiautomatic handgun on the ammunition it fires. The holder of the patent for this technology himself has written that there are problems with it and that further study is warranted before it is mandated. A National Academy of Science review, forensic firearm examiners and a University of California at Davis study reached the same conclusion, and the technical experts in the firearm industry agree.

Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins.

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