Schwarzenegger signs microstamping bill into law


Staff member
Governor of California Betrays Law-Abiding
Gun Owners, Retailers and Hunters

NEWTOWN, Conn. -- Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) yesterday kowtowed to anti-hunting interest groups and the gun-ban lobby by signing into law legislation that will ban traditional ammunition and require firearms sold in California to include a patented, sole-sourced technology known as firearms microstamping -- a technology ballistics experts say is "flawed." The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) -- the trade association of the firearms industry -- has been the first to push-back on the governor, calling his decision to sign these two bills into law "myopic" and "reckless."

"Governor Schwarzenegger has now effectively banned more firearms than Senators Kennedy, Feinstein and Schumer combined," said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel. "The governor has proven to gun owners and sportsmen that he is just another liberal anti-gun Hollywood actor -- he just plays a moderate Republican on TV. Mr. Schwarzenegger has now exposed himself for what he really is, the most anti-gun and anti-sportsmen governor in America."

Assembly Bill 1471 mandates the technology known as firearms microstamping, the process by which a firearm's make, model and serial number are micro-laser engraved on the tip of the firing pin so, in theory, that information would be imprinted on any cartridge casing fired in the gun. Governor Schwarzenegger signed AB 1471 into law despite having full knowledge of multiple studies proving microstamping to be unreliable. Among the research that the governor ignored was a recently released state-funded study by the University of California at Davis that called firearms microstamping a "flawed" technology and concluded that, "At the current time it is not recommended that a mandate for implementation of this technology in all semiautomatic handguns in the state of California be made. Further testing, analysis and evaluation is required." Independent research also demonstrated that criminals will be able to remove the laser engraving in mere seconds using common household tools.

By signing the microstamping legislation Governor Schwarzenegger chose to disregard warnings that major firearms manufacturers would be forced to abandon the California market altogether rather than bear the astronomical costs associated with reconfiguring the manufacturing and assembly processes necessary for microstamping.

NSSF has also pointed out that microstamping firearms would not impact criminals since, according to ATF, firearms used in crimes in California were originally sold on average almost 13 years before being recovered by the police. Firearms used in crimes are not newly sold guns, but old guns that have been in circulation on average for over a decade.

"The governor's decision to mandate this unreliable technology is clearly one of family politics, not sound public policy," said Keane, alluding to Senator Ted Kennedy, the uncle of the governor's wife, who has announced plans to introduce a federal microstamping bill.

The governor also signed into law legislation banning traditional ammunition in key hunting areas of the state. Assembly Bill 821, backed by anti-hunting extremists, was intended to save the California Condor from lead poisoning despite the fact that there is no conclusive scientific evidence that the birds are getting sick from ingesting ammunition fragments. Advising the Governor on this issue was Marty Wilson, his political advisor who entered a business relationship this year with the Audubon Society – an anti-hunting organization fighting to ban lead ammunition.

"Governor Schwarzenegger's decision to ban lead ammunition has far reaching implications that extend well beyond California hunters," said Keane. "A study by the Responsive Management Company found that if a ban on lead ammunition were to become law 24 percent of hunters would hunt outside the state, hunt less or stop hunting altogether. This in-turn affects the retailers of hunting equipment, their employees and the small mom - and - pop businesses that run lodges and restaurants that hunters patronize."

A ban on lead ammunition could cost 2,230 jobs, $15 million in state and federal income tax, $3.9 million per year in hunting license costs, $131 million a year in retail sales and $624,000 in federal excise tax money normally returned to California.

"Clearly Governor Schwarzenegger is more concerned with helping the political agenda of his wife's uncle, Senator Kennedy, than in doing what's right for California," stated Keane. "To ban traditional ammunition without evidence and to mandate a flawed technology that criminals will laugh at could very well see every major firearms manufacturer abandon the California market. These are stunningly bad public policy decisions by at best a seriously ill-informed or at worst a rabidly antigun politician and which will do nothing to reduce crime or help the recovery of the condor. Today is a sad day for sportsmen, gun-owners, small business owners, firearms enthusiasts and indeed wildlife in the Golden State," concluded Keane.

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