The late Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis wrote in the case of New State Ice Co. v. Liebmann that a “state may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country." This was a simplification of James Madison’s comment on the Constitution.
In comparing the power of the federal government to that of the states, Madison wrote, “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the state governments are numerous and indefinite.” In a nutshell this means the states have the power to pass laws that would be unconstitutional if passed by Congress.
Which brings us to California, the nation’s foremost laboratory of futile political gestures.
In 2008 — evidently while he was channeling Gray Davis — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed AB 1471. This was a gun control measure that requires all guns sold in California to have a “microstamping” mechanism that marks fired shell casings with a unique stamp each time the gun is fired.
The real world effect of this bill is limited to Democrat politicians running for re-election who can point to their vote for AB 1471 as proof the NRA can’t push them around.
Its effect on gun crime will be zero. The law doesn’t apply to rifles or shotguns and it doesn’t even apply to all handguns, since revolvers are exempt. So this breakthrough in crime detection only applies to pistols sold in California beginning this year.
Smith & Wesson — founded in 1852 — has decided it will not be participating in this particular lab experiment. The company will not sell any semi-automatic pistols in California beginning this year.
In a news release the company announced, “Smith & Wesson does not and will not include microstamping in its firearms. 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.”
In fact the only crime this law will prevent is littering, as fastidious criminals stop to pick up ejected shell casings before leaving the scene of the crime.
Guns already leave a unique mark on each bullet that’s fired, but that isn’t enough for California legislators. And AB 1471 will have no effect on handguns already in California or guns purchased elsewhere and brought into the state.
The only upside to this exercise in Federalism is that citizens in the other 49 states won’t be affected by this bit of Democrat posturing. Californians who are affected have the option of moving out, just like Smith & Wesson.
Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan. He is president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation and chairman of the League of American Voters. Mike is an in-demand speaker with Premiere. Read more reports from Michael Reagan — Go Here Now.
© Mike Reagan