Just read a news release that STI International, who manufactures some pretty high level guns for competition shooters and also for Law Enforcement, will no longer sell guns in California. When I bought a new Ruger Charger they also noted that it would not be sold in CA. I’m sure that there are other manufacturers that are on the same list and you can be sure that whenever I buy a new gun they will go to the top of the selection. STI was pretty direct in their news release saying that “ We as a company have decided that enough is enough” and that they, “ feel it is necessary to take a stand against irresponsible legislation designed solely to inhibit the American citizen’s right to keep and bear arms.”
The final straw seemed to be California’s new law that goes in to effect in 2010. Basically the law requires that all new semi-autos sold in CA have to micro imprint or engrave any shell casings that are fired in the gun. The imprint has to be specific to that gun, model and serial number, and it has to do it in two places.
Obviously the imprinted information has to be on record with California since the bright idea is to be able to trace that gun thru it’s lifetime and be able to identify who owns it. So each time the gun changes hands the imprint info has to go to the state. At least that’s the theory.
Now the theory is offensive enough but stupidity seems to know no bounds. One of the places for the imprint is from the firing pin when it hits the primer and then someplace on the case either when the action closes or when the case expands in the chamber. When tested, it was found that after about 1,000 rounds the imprints were frequently blurred to the point where at least some of the numbers and letters weren’t readable. Surprise, surprise they also found that the firing pin can bounce or the case comes back after the round goes off and causes a double imprint which makes it unreadable. Of course that still leaves the second mark except that as the round is ejected some barrels rotate, some tilt and even in the chamber, the case slides against the imprinting. All of which can make the imprint unreadable.
Not living in California, I have to admit that in the past when I read about the micro imprinting I tended to laugh at the fools. Didn’t they realize that firing pins break and get replaced as do other parts, not to mention the fact that cases sliding in and out of chambers are going to wear any imprint markings? Well they covered that issue, by definition, any gun requiring imprinting of cases that has parts that do not clearly imprint is considered to be “Unsafe” and cannot be sold, traded or used without violating other laws. Just think if you have to replace a firing pin you will have to order it with the correct imprinting information.
What is really comical is that Law enforcement agencies are exempt from the imprint requirement. I guess that means that CA cops will be carrying “unsafe” pistols. How would you like to be in the position of a cop shooting a perp with an “unsafe” gun. What a lawyer field day!
(Does this mean that anyone shot with a unmarked bullet was, by definition, shot by a cop? ...Mr. C.)
I suppose it will keep any gun ranges cleaner since anyone shooting an imprint gun will have to pick up their brass and it can’t even be put in a recycle bin. Some criminal could pick up your imprinted brass and leave it at crime scenes.
Wikipedia has a pretty good write up at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firearm_microstamping. In fact that is where most of the information came from. It is interesting and there are several other states working on similar laws.