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California Supreme Court Throws Out Lawsuit Challenging Bullet Stamping Law

REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

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Elias Atienza Contributor

The California Supreme Court ruled unanimously to throw out a lawsuit challenging California’s bullet stamping law that requires new semi-automatic handguns to stamp identifying information on bullet casings, The Associated Press reported Thursday.

Gun rights groups argued the law should be overturned because it was impossible to comply with, as the technology does not exist. The court ruled the law could not be overturned simply because it was impossible to comply with. 

The law requires new semi-automatic handguns to “have a microscopic array of characters in two spots that identify the gun’s make, model and serial number and that are transferred by imprinting on each cartridge case when the gun is fired,” reported The Associated Press.

Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the law in 2007, with supporters arguing that it would help police solve gun crimes by allowing them to trace bullet casings to the original gun. The law took effect in 2013.

Gun rights groups pointed out in the lawsuit that technology to reliably “microstamp” in two different areas does not exist and that available technology only allows the tip of the firing pin to be microstamped.

State attorneys argued in court that the law would force the gun industry to innovate and that lawmakers often passed laws to force different industries to adapt. If the California Supreme Court had ruled in favor of the gun rights groups, lawmakers would be stripped of that ability. (RELATED: New California Law Makes Buying Ammo A Lot Harder)

The law does not affect guns already manufactured and only applies to new and modified semi-automatic handguns.

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