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Gun Maker Fires Back at California's Microstamping Law

A California law that requires semi-automatic pistols to have a microstamp is driving some gun manufacturers out of the state. Gun manufacturer Smith & Wesson announced it won't be microstamping its guns and therefore will not be able to sell new semi-automatic pistols in California.

A state law that requires semi-automatic pistols to have a microstamp is driving some gun manufacturers out of California.

Thursday, gun manufacturer Smith & Wesson announced it would not include microstamping on its guns, and therefore, it will not be selling new semi-automatic pistols in California.

A statement on their website says, "A number of studies have indicated that microstamping is unreliable, serves no safety purpose, is cost prohibitive and, most importantly, is not proved to aid in preventing or solving crimes. The microstamping mandate and the company's unwillingness to adopt this so-called technology will result in a diminishing number of Smith & Wesson semi-automatic pistols available for purchase by California residents."

The law was passed in 2007 by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger but went into effect in 2013. As guns come up for renewal and need to be retested, some manufacturers have decided they will not implement the technology.

At Herb Bauer Sporting Goods in Fresno, certified gun dealer Barry Bauer says this will hurt both the gun market in California and gun owners.

"We're going to lose a whole lot of guns off of our list that we have available for sale in California. Most of the manufacturers, as I'm looking down at my case here, are going to be affected by this," Bauer says.

Other manufacturers plan to make the same move, according to Bauer. He says he's in contact with several gun manufacturers.

Earlier this month, Ruger announced it wouldn't stamp its guns, either.

Supporters of the law say this technology will help link shell casings at crime scenes to its gun. But Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims says this will not help solve crimes.

"My issue with it is it's unproven technology; there's no proof that it will in fact help us solve crimes. But one of the biggest things is it's going to punish legal firearm owners," Mims says.

Gun owner Bud Mars agrees, saying bullet casings can get into the wrong hands, defeating the purpose of the law.

"They go to the rifle range or a pistol range, and they'll shoot at the target. And all your little cartridges fly around. Somebody could pick that up and use it against you," Mars says.

Smith & Wesson is designing two models of semi-automatic guns that will be compliant with California law. It will take three months for them to produce these guns.

The microstamping law, otherwise known as the "Unsafe Handgun Act," does not apply to anyone who currently, legally, already owns a semi-automatic pistol in California.

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