Ruger, S&W First to Stop California Sales

by Jim Shepherd

"Dear California,
Since you insist on passing laws that are not only unenforceable, but technically impossible with which to comply, we have decided to do the inevitable and just write off your state as a marketplace for our products."

OK, that was not a real note, but it's a message any number of industries would probably like to deliver to the nanny-statists in Sacramento. The rules, regulations and rigamarole companies have to endure to do business there would drive anyone except a liquor company to drink. The liquor people are too-busy filling out paperwork to have a belt.

Now, California has decided to move ahead with its ridiculous microstamping requirement for all new firearms.

Consequently, Sturm, Ruger & Company (NYSE: RGR) and Smith & Wesson (NYSE:SWHC) have confirmed the fact they're going to allow many of their semiautomatic handguns to "fall off" the state's approved firearms list.

While the companies aren't "firing" California as a customer, they are clearly delivering a message: microstamping is beyond the reasonable and they're done trying to comply unenforceable laws.

While other California requirements such as their mandated "bullet button" are unnecessary, microstamping is a different critter. The primary difference is simple: microstamping doesn't work. Not now, and certainly for the immediate future.

There's currently no way a device capable of microstamping can't either be defaced or removed. An emery board is more than capable of removing markings from an original firing pin. Changing the firing pin yields the same outcome.

And striker fired handguns are another complete nightmare.

So, the two gun company it seems, have had enough.

In a statement sent to The Outdoor Wire, Ruger says it remains "...committed to our customers in California".

"Unfortunately, the ill-conceived law requiring the incorporation of microstamping technology into semi-automatic pistols is forcing Ruger pistols off the Roster of Handguns Certified for Sale in California."

Ruger says their pistols have met all the requirements previously required for being on the "Certified for Sale" list "with the exception of microstamping."

The California Department of Justice, however, says it will not consider any guns unless they satisfy the microstamping regulations. That, says Ruger, is a requirement "which numerous studies have found unworkable."

Long story short, Ruger says "Until microstamping is repealed, we expect that Ruger pistols - some of the safest available- will continue to be forced off the Roster."

And Smith & Wesson's M&P series will also be disappearing from that Roster - and California retailers' shelves barring a sudden outbreak of common sense in Sacramento.

A statement from Smith & Wesson says although the company "continually seeks ways to refine and improve its firearms so consumers have access to the best possible products, the State of California is making it impossible when it comes to California residents."

Although the company does manufacture some pistols that remain California compliant, all M&P pistols with the exception of their Shield will fall off the Roster by August.

The reason? Performance enhancements and other improvements.

Under California's "Unsafe Handgun Act" all new pistols must include microstamping. Likewise, anything other than a cosmetic change means that gun falls off the Roster and must be retested.

In the late-night release, there wasn't much doubt where the Springfield, Massachusetts manufacturer stands on the question of microstamping.

"Smith & Wesson does not and will not include microstamping in its firearms" the statement says, adding that studies indicate the procedure is "unreliable, serves no safety purpose, is cost prohibitive and, most importantly, is not proven to aid in preventing or solving crimes."

Smith & Wesson President and CEO James Debney says the company will "do our best to support our customers in California with state-compliant products, enabling them to at least a portion of the firearms to which we believe all citizens are entitled."

He also said the company would continue to work with the NRA and NSSF to oppose the law.

For years I have said the firearms industry should simply "write off" California as a place not worth the business requirements. Today, I realize I was wrong for more than one reason.

The primary reason is simple: California is still part of the United States. Citizens of the United States are constitutionally guaranteed the right to keep and bear arms. If that right is worth defending anywhere, it must be defended everywhere in the country where politicians and anti-gun groups are trying to legislate gun control through restrictions, regulations and unattainable standards.

Yes, it costs time, money and general aggravation, but there really is no other option.

Privately, I'm told many other gun companies are considering "falling off" the Approved Firearms Roster. As the list grows -and firearms inventory and selection shrinks, it seems the law will either be repealed by the Assembly, or tossed by the federal court system.

In the meantime, the gun haters in Sacramento are using a bad law based upon an unworkable technological premise to achieve their ultimate goal: disarmament of their citizens.

As a technology, microstamping is a non-starter.

As the catalyst for another protracted legal battle with gun owners and the firearms industry aligned against anti-gun groups and their like-minded legislators, it seems microstamping as grounds for a fight is the equivalent of an open flame in a propane tank.

Republished from The Outdoor Wire.

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