Two bills just signed by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger limit gun ownership and use in California.

AB 1471 requires gun manufacturers to build in a mechanism to microstamp ammo:

Existing law defines unsafe handguns as failing to pass certain tests, or lacking certain features, as specified.

This bill, the Crime Gun Identification Act of 2007, would, commencing January 1, 2010, expand the definition of “unsafe handgun” to include semiautomatic pistols that are not designed and equipped with a microscopic array of characters that identify the make, model, and serial number of the pistol, etched in 2 or more places on the interior surface or internal working parts of the pistol, and that are transferred by imprinting on each cartridge case when the firearm is fired. Those provisions would be subject to specified certification procedures by the Department of Justice regarding the use of that technology.

By expanding the definition of “unsafe handgun,” the manufacture, sale, and other specified transfer of which is a crime, this bill would expand the scope of an existing crime, and thereby impose a state-mandated local program.

The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.

This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.

There is some disagreement about whether the microstamping technology exists, whether it works if it does exist, whether the company owning the microstamping patent will require royalty payments, whether the technology works well enough to be “certified” and whether this bill merely represents a ploy to ban these pistols.

One opponent of this legislation has called for nationwide pressure to get the law repealed:

Governer Schwarzenkennedy just signed the so-called microstamping bill. This requires that new semi-automatic firearms sold in California starting in 2010 have microstamping technology which puts a unique serial number on the shell casing as it is fired. The trouble is that the technology doesn’t exist, meaning by 2010 you won’t be able to get a semi-automatic in this state.

Every firearms and ammunition manufacturer in the country needs to stop selling to California today. This especially means to California law enforcement.

AB 821 alledgedly addresses concern for the welfare of the endanged California condor:

This bill would enact the Ridley-Tree Condor Preservation Act to require the use of nonlead centerfire rifle and pistol ammunition when taking big game and coyote within specified areas. The act would require the commission to establish, by regulation, by July 1, 2008, a public process to certify centerfire rifle and pistol ammunition as nonlead ammunition, and to define nonlead ammunition by regulation. The act would also require the [Fish & Game Commission], to the extent funding is available, to provide hunters within these areas with nonlead ammunition at no or reduced charge through a coupon program. Under the act, a person who violates those requirements would be guilty of an infraction punishable by a $500 fine for the first offense. Because the act would create a new crime, this bill would create a state-mandated local program.

The act would also declare the Legislature’s intent to protect vulnerable wildlife species, including the California condor, from the ongoing threat of lead poisoning.

California Assemblyman Doug LaMalfa thinks the AB 821 should have been vetoed:

Never mind that 1/4 of California is deemed by this proposal as condor area. And that a condor ingests all sorts of junk metal from the scavenging diet it has, or that new methods have been recently been promoted for how hunters handle carcasses that would remove any lead bullet “threat”, but it’s a “feel-good” bill. Except for hunters who now have much more expensive ammo to find and purchase…and the hit on hunting license sales to the state.

Those unfamiliar with California state politics should realize that Democrats dominate both houses of the State legislature. Governor Schwarzenegger was elected to replace Grey Davis as a counterweight to the State legislature, but has steadily trended leftward the longer he has held office.

[cehwiedel also writes at]

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