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The PJ Tatler

Bryan Preston


January 27, 2014 - 8:06 am

Smith & Wesson deserve credit for their refusal to bow to California’s Democrat tyrants, but make no mistake about what this is. It’s a retreat.

Gun manufacturer Smith & Wesson refused Thursday to comply with California’s controversial “microstamping” law, causing more of its products to fall off the state’s permissible firearms list and be ineligible for sale.

In a two-page statement on its website, Smith & Wesson criticized Assembly Bill 1471, which requires new or redesigned semiautomatic weapons to carry microstamping technology, imprinting its make, model and serial number onto shell casings when a bullet is fired.

Though the law was passed in 2007, language in the legislation stipulated it would go into effect when the necessary technology was widely available. It was not enacted until May 2013.

Critics argue that the technology is flawed. In its statement, Smith & Wesson said “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.”

Microstamping is an attempt to ban handguns incrementally, in a way that won’t run afoul of court precedent spelling out the individual right to bear arms. Gun manufacturers are finding themselves having to retreat now from Colorado, California, New York and probably Maryland, thanks to Democrats finding creative ways to infringe on the Second Amendment. California blazes the trail for other blue states to follow, and there is no effective opposition left in that state to counter.

While those of us who live in Second Amendment-friendly states can smirk and note that wherever Democrats rule, gun rights get curbed, we can’t just keep retreating. Our fundamental rights are dying in states that Democrats rule, and thanks to court decisions, in other states as well.

Bryan Preston has been a leading conservative blogger and opinionator since founding his first blog in 2001. Bryan is a military veteran, worked for NASA, was a founding blogger and producer at Hot Air, was producer of the Laura Ingraham Show and, most recently before joining PJM, was Communications Director of the Republican Party of Texas.

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Top Rated Comments   
Well, hopefully they will also do the same thing as Barrett and a lot of other companies and refuse to sell any products to government agencies that aren't available to the general public. No S&W semi-autos for sale to police, sheriff or other departments.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (17)
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Criminals can defeat the purpose of this stupid law with a piece of emery paper and a few seconds work on the firing pin. Or anyone contemplating using a handgun in a crime can simply choose a revolver, or attach a brass catcher to their semi-auto. Or collect a handful of fired brass from a range and scatter the empty cases at the scene of the crime. Or just buy an out-of-state handgun, and bring it into California. I understand that isn't even illegal under the law. As usual in California, it's the law-abiding gun owners who suffer.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
If the criminal is smart, his revolver will be the same caliber as the shells picked up at the range (otherwise the bullets won't match the casings). Then the jack-booted thugs will break down the door of a hapless law-abiding citizen, who will have to spend beaucoup bucks to defend himself. I am not sure why anyone who owns a gun would want to stay in California.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes, the caliber of the cases spread around the crime scene would be the same as the gun used. That would make it impossible for the cops to identify the weapon unless they matched the bullets to the rifling marks from the barrel. They can't do that unless they already know what weapon to look for.

If a revolver is used, there are NO expended cases left at the crime scene, so the microdtamping and forensic matching of the fired cases doesn't work. The only thing the police have are the bullet markings which are worthless without some idea of the gun involved.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Even then, matching rifling markings on the bullet to a specific barrel is problematic and more opinion than hard science, if I recall correctly.

Easy way to defeat the law:

Purchase a semi-automatic and obtain spare barrels.

Keep one barrel for normal use, use the spare barrels for your nefarious activities.

After committing a crime, run a rat tail file down the barrel used to commit the crime and thereby ruin it. From a tracing standpoint, they won't be able to match bullet markings to any particular barrel as rifling won't be consistent at all at that point.

The firing pin on something like the Colt 1911 are easily and cheaply obtained and there are millions of them floating around with nary a microstamp on them. Replacing the firing pin at the same time as the barrel eliminates the ability to trace the imprint on the shell casing back to that specific gun. Just be sure to run that emery paper over the tip of the firing pin after removing it from the weapon.

End result is the police could have handfuls of spent shell casings and mounds of recovered bullets in one hand, and the pistol used to fire them in the other - and no way in the world to match the pistol to the spent ammunition components.

This approach also eliminates the need to police your shell casings up after committing a crime, and the switch out of the relevant pistol components is literally a matter of minutes.

The law is nothing but feel good legislation that is so easily defeated as to be laughable.

The only thing that might still be an issue is the ejector claw marks but I'm not sure how much accuracy they can claim on that one as far as matching it up to a certain pistol.

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35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
We're getting the wife her concealed carry permit and need a pistol for her - I'm thinking a nice brand new S&W 642 would fill the bill nicely.

The only weakness I can see in S&W's position is that less scrupulous firearms dealers in the secondary market may decide this is an opportunity for them to make a nice profit and sell California the weapons it wants instead of the state purchasing them directly from the manufacturer.

If that's the case, S&W should do at least two things:

One, refuse to honor the warranty on any weapon sold after the specific date this law went into effect that turns up in California.

Two, find new distributors to replace the ones that have decided to do business with that state regardless of S&W's stated position.

Yes, those businesses have the right to sell to whomever they want as long as it's compliant with state and federal laws - but I would think S&W would likely have just as much right to refuse to do business with those companies in turn.

As far as "retreating", my prediction is that as the quantity of legal guns dries up - crime will increase. This will create a self-perpetuating cycle.

The legally owned guns that are left will become prime targets of opportunity for theft thereby increasing the crime rate even further while simultaneously reducing the number of legally held guns in private hands.

The increasing violence will lead the gun control proponents to keep demanding just one more gun law that will solve their problem - which will inevitably target the law abiding citizen rather than the gun owner which in turn will further restrict second amendment rights......which will further increase the crime rate.

If Californians can't figure this out, we can't do it for them and they are on their own.

When they decide to finally abandon the state and head for greener pastures elsewhere, I'd suggest pointing them towards other wannabe fruitcake states and discourage them from moving to red states where they will inevitably replicate their voting patterns and create the same mess in their new states as they did in California.

Ya'll remember that next time a California emigrant looking to relocate is sitting across from your desk applying for a job in your state.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
There are a few misunderstandings in what you posted, or at least in how I interpret what you posted. First, California does not buy guns from manufacturers and then sell them to the public. Second, I am not sure what you mean by "secondary market". There is only "the market" and "the black market". Every (legal) gun sale in California is subject to a background check and notification to the state. Transfers to immediate family members involve notification to the state. Handgun sales must be registered, and brand new for 2014 so must long gun sales. That registration includes the make/model of the weapon, so there is no ability for a "secondary market" store to buy weapons from out of state and sell them at a mark-up. Anyone or any store doing this is strictly black market, and won't be conducting any background checks or registration.

Personally I suspect there will be a California economic meltdown before a guns/crime meltdown. My wife and I alternate between a "let's leave" and "Let's stay and fight" mentality. She was born and raised here, and hates to see what has happened.

Also, I hope you will have some compassion on the "right" kind of Californians, if/when we flee. When I bought my last two long guns in December before the long gun registration kicked in, my salesman was recently moved from Arizona. He said that (gun-buying) Californians seemed more passionate and excited about their guns than he remembered back in Arizona, probably because they appreciated the possibility of loss more acutely. So remember that there are a solid group of staunch conservatives in California, it is just that we are outnumbered.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
You misunderstood what I posted.

S&W can legally sell firearms directly to the state and it's agencies.

I'm talking about everyone from the San Francisco police SWAT team up to and including Governor Moonbeam's bodyguard detail (which is also likely a law enforcement agency or some sub-component thereof).

I never said the state of California was selling guns to the general public, I was referring to the guns the state acquires for arming state agents.

This is different than what normally takes place when S&W sells their products to the private sector, in that their products are shipped to distributors and middle men in the supply chain, who then sell those weapons to the various gunshops all over the country that carry S&W products - all before the final purchaser ever lays eyes on the weapon.

This is just for new guns.

The "secondary market" I referred to is going to encompass all used guns.

Being from California you may not be aware that all of the states have their own rules regarding gun purchases - and more often than not those rules are not as prohibitive as California's. This on top of the federal rules.

That being the case, if you have a police department in Georgia that decides to get rid of their S&W M&P's and purchase Sig Sauer's, then those S&W M&P's are going to be rounded up from the local police officers, boxed up, and most likely put up for bid on the open market as used police guns.

This would not apply to firearms purchased on a personal basis by the police officer, by the way, which also happens a lot in smaller rural communities. This rounding up of used guns would only apply to those purchased using government funds by the municipality for arming it's police force.

The various businesses dealing in the secondary market will bid to purchase that lot of weapons, and then the winning bidder can sell them to whoever he wants to, whether it is another government agency or a private individual.

I was noting that the secondary market forces would tend to try to fill the gap in fulfilling the state government of California's firearms needs with used weapons from other police agencies if all of the weapons manufacturer's boycott new firearm sales to that state and it's agencies.

I was advocating that S&W, in order to keep teeth in their own boycott, make it clear that any business that chose to step in at that point would be jeopardizing their business relationship with S&W.

Had nothing to do with California purchasing weapons and re-selling them to the public.

Regarding the "right" kind of Californian - believe it or not I do have sympathy for your plight.

However, I've also seen and heard far too many transplants from the left coast as well as the frozen north who get into my own red state of NC and begin to complain about how it's not like where they are from.

My general reaction is, if it was so much better, they should go home.

So, if you decide to abandon the state, you have my best wishes - just make it a mental note to never compare where you are to where you are from as it likely makes the natives irritated.

35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
I appreciate your reply. Now that I see that "secondary" market is used guns, I get your point. Having bought guns here in CA from a local Mom & Pop, as well as a chain store, and also having looked and discussed firearms in several other purchasing locations including gun shows, I have never run into the situation where a used gun was for sale that could not be purchased new. I have also never heard any store personnel discussing that sort of thing. I'm not saying that it can't happen, just that the stores here are very sensitive to what can and cannot be done. They are all very aware that the state is looking for reasons to shut them down.

As for leaving California, if/when that happens, and I get to my new home, I will certainly be talking about the differences, but it will be in celebration!
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, there are actually a lot of guns that on the used market you can't get new.

An immediate example I thought of is if you are collector, then the German Luger, the British Webley and the Japanese Nambu come to mind immediately.

You just can't get any of those new.

Then you have the fact that gun manufacturer's routinely phase in and phase out various models of firearms all the time, so if you wanted an earlier model for whatever reason then you have to go the used gun route.

Why would anyone want to do this?

On my personal wish list is a .22 caliber Remington Nylon 66 rifle.

Unfortunately, Remington stopped making those decades ago. As such, the only way to get my hands on one is to buy it used - and just as unfortunately they have become collectors items and command high prices when you can find one in really good shape.

Since it looks like you're interested, you might want to do more research on the gun laws at the federal level vs the California gun laws so you understand that a lot of the restrictions you live with are state imposed.

This will help you a lot in understanding how to legally purchase a weapon in your new home state should you elect to vote with your feet, and may even give you a decent idea of where you want to move to if the 2nd Amendment is important to you.

Just be prepared to consciously change how you think about firearms ownership when you get there.
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35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes, there are many California restrictions that do not apply elsewhere, such as FFL involvement in private sales, and the list goes on.

As for used guns, I wasn't referring to collectible or out of production guns. I was referring mainly to situations like my example of only being able to buy a Gen 3 Glock handgun as a private citizen. I have not, for instance, seen or even heard of gun stores offering used Gen 4 Glocks for sale, after having purchased them from individual LEOs or agencies en masse. That's all I was saying.

I won't be leaving California until at least our youngest is graduated from high school. I am remarried and my wife cannot leave the state with her kids, so we are stuck for now.

Thanks for the info/insights.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Keep an eye on They currently have used gen 3 Glocks in .40 cal selling currently for $349.99.

They may eventually get some gen 4s in eventually I'd you are willing to be patient.

Not sure how you would go about getting your hands on them with current California law, but I know here all I would have to do is find an FFL and they could order it for me direct.

With my NC CCH I can go in and pick it up when it arrives, show my concealed carry permit, give them the money and walk out with it after filling out the usual federal paperwork.

Good luck!
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
I don't know who the California legislature is fooling. People will just purchase weapons and ammo in another state, and illegally transport them into California. The law-abiding citizens may lose out, but criminals will get all the guns they want. The lessons of recent murder capitals such as Washington DC, Chicago and Detroit (where all guns are illegal) are lost on politicians with their heads in the sand.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Were their hands in the sand. I think their heads are up another orifice in their body.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, hopefully they will also do the same thing as Barrett and a lot of other companies and refuse to sell any products to government agencies that aren't available to the general public. No S&W semi-autos for sale to police, sheriff or other departments.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
They should do as Barrett did, and refuse to do warranty work or repairs for any California state or municipal government agency. And if they have a company certification program for gunsmiths, lift the certification for any gunsmith who does work on their products for state and municipal government agencies.

At that point the liability insurance coverage for those agencies will get prohibitive. As a retired Peace Officer, if it is anything like my former agency all repair work/maintenance has to be done by trained and certified [where applicable] gunsmiths [we had our own in-house, but he had to maintain certifications]. If there is a risk of a civilian or an officer being possibly injured or killed by an improperly maintained weapon because of lack of due diligence, the underwriters will have several litters of saber-toothed tiger kittens, all born with claws extended.

Use their own regulatory jungle against them.

Subotai Bahadur
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Smith & Wesson deserve credit for their refusal to bow to California’s Democrat tyrants, but make no mistake about what this is. It’s a retreat."

Retreat or not, I plan to buy a new S&W firearm if they speak with their feet & leave the People's Republik of Kalifornia. I'm guessing they will take with them substantial tax payout (income, property, payroll, gasoline, sales et all), which can only be good for their new home.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
They aren't "leaving", they are refusing/declining to sell new and redesigned models. Older models that have not been changed will remain for sale.

Many handguns available elsewhere are not available in CA due to an intentionally burdensome testing requirement. Some companies do not find it worthwhile to pay the money for this "testing". For example, in California you cannot buy a 4th Generation Glock handgun unless you are an LEO. Only the 3rd Generation guns can be purchased. This was before the micro-stamping requirement, which has now gone into effect and only makes things more difficult for gun manufacturers and the gun-buying public.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
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