Smith & Wesson Keeps New Pistols Out of Calif. to Protest New Law

Image: Smith & Wesson Keeps New Pistols Out of Calif. to Protest New Law A Smith & Wesson Model M&P BODYGUARD® 380, from its line of semi-automatic pistols.

Friday, 24 Jan 2014 07:47 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Smith & Wesson will keep its new semi-automatic pistols out of California, instead of complying with the state's controversial gun microstamping law.

The law requires the pistols to have a feature that stamps a code onto bullet casings when a gun is fired, The Fresno Bee reports, and Smith & Wesson says it does not now, and will not, include such microstamping in its weapons.

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"A number of studies have indicated that microstamping is unreliable, serves no safety purpose, is cost-prohibitive, and, most importantly, is not proven to aid in preventing or solving crimes," the gunmaker said in a statement on its website.

The law already has come under the scrutiny of other firearms companies and gun-rights supporters, who complain that the technology does not work. The National Shooting Sports Foundation filed a lawsuit against the state over the law earlier this month, reports the Bee.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the law in 2007. However, the law did not take effect until May 2013 because of language stipulating it would remain on hold until the microstamping technology became available, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Gun owners and manufacturers, along with a handful of sheriffs opposed the law, but the American Academy of Pediatrics and dozens of police chief favored the legislation.

Smith & Wesson President and CEO James Debney says at least one of his company's semi-automatic pistols is no longer on a list of state-approved weapons, and more of his company's weapons will likely follow.

"As our products fall off the roster due to California’s interpretation of the Unsafe Handgun Act, we will continue to work with the National Rifle Association and the NSSF to oppose this poorly conceived law, which mandates the unproven and unreliable concept of microstamping and makes it impossible for Californians to have access to the best products with the latest innovations," Debney said in the company's statement. "At the same time, we will do our best to support our customers in California with state-compliant products, enabling them access to at least a portion of the firearms to which we believe all citizens are entitled."

Gun manufacturer Sturm, Ruger & Co. also refuses to comply with the law, instead choosing to allow its products to fall from California's list of guns allowed for sale.

"We’re being forced out of the state by the California Department of Justice,: Ruger CEO Mike Fifer told at a trade show earlier this month. "This insistence on microstamping, which doesn’t work, is denying you your rights to have access to these guns."

California's state database contains 1,152 approved guns, but this number is expected to drop drastically in upcoming years, reports The guns on the approved list will be re-examined to determine if they still meet California's requirements.

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