Appeal Filed Against Micro-Stamping of California Guns

An unidentified man holds a Colt .45 semi-automatic pistol in Manassas, Virginia, 22 July, 2007.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation and the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute are appealing a court decision earlier this year that favored California’s “micro-stamping” requirement.

The requirement was signed into law in 2007 by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Micro-stamping is a method through which a semi-automatic handgun is equipped with a firing pin that leaves a fingerprint on shell casing–theoretically. The very end of the firing pin imprints information on the shell casing when it strikes it, letting law enforcement know the serial number of the gun that fired that the round.

The method works as long as the criminal uses a gun he or she has registered with the state. But if the criminal uses a gun bought on the streets–as studies show most criminals do–then micro-stamping means nothing.

Moreover, if someone switches out the firing pin on a new semi-automatic or files down the end of it or decides ahead of time to use revolvers alone, micro-stamping will not work. (Micro-stamping is of no use in revolvers because they do not eject a shell casing.)

Seen in this light, micro-stamping is a requirement that forces gun manufacturers to follow the path of gasoline refineries, which have to make specific fuel blends for California, by producing a line of semi-automatics equipped with this easy-to-defeat micro-stamping technology.

The end result is just another futile gun control practice that will raise the prices law-abiding citizens pay for the handguns they use to defend their lives and property.

And besides guns becoming more expensive, there will also be less to choose from under the micro-stamping requirement. That is because companies like Smith & Wesson have already said they will forgo sales in California rather than spend the money to re-equip a factory to make a special line of guns with such technology for one state.

So NSSF and SAAMI are appealing the ruling that favored this requirement. reports that “NSSF and SAAMI are renewing their efforts and on Sept. 17 filed a notice of appeal with the state’s Fifth Appellate District, to which the DOJ replied last week that Deputy AG Nelson Ryan Richards would address.”

Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at




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