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Brady Applauds the California Assembly for Passing a Bill Requiring ‘Microstamping’ for Specific Firearms, a Forward-Thinking and Common-Sense Policy

Washington, D.C., June 11, 2020 - Today, Brady applauds the California Assembly for passing AB 2847, introduced by Assemblyman David Chiu (D – San Francisco), ensuring that new model handguns introduced into California incorporate microstamping technology, which creates a unique marking, a micro stamp, associated with each, individual weapon. These markings are then imprinted on casings when bullets are fired, connecting them to the gun that fired them. This technology will assist law enforcement in their effort to identify shooters and gun traffickers and apprehend them before they do more harm. Nationally, we have seen the rate of unsolved firearm assaults and homicides increase. Tools like microstamping are essential if we are to reverse that trend.

If we are to reduce gun violence, we must provide law enforcement with the best investigative tools possible. The same way that the introduction of DNA technology has revolutionized forensic science, microstamping technology has the potential to similarly revolutionize ballistic forensics. Brady supporters showed their support for this important policy, sending over 8,500 emails and driving nearly 500 calls to their legislators urging them to vote ‘Yes.’

Brady President Kris Brown shared:

“Microstamping is a much needed forensic tool that will allow law enforcement to use data and science to help solve gun crimes. California has led the way in gun violence prevention solutions for a generation - it should be obvious that microstamping is another such innovative policy that other states should take up. This is a common-sense solution. It creates more data for law enforcement to utilize and removes variables and guesswork that can often be affected by bias from investigations. A policy that supports law enforcement and helps to keep communities safe is a clear win-win. Despite this, the gun lobby has stalled this progress since 2007. Today’s action reverses that decades-long obstruction and sets California back on the path towards greater safety. Brady thanks the California Assembly for passing this bill, and Assemblyman Chiu for his leadership.”

Brady Program Manager Steve Lindley, the former Chief of the California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Firearms, shared:

“Microstamping aids law enforcement in their efforts to solve gun crimes, a goal shared by all Californians. Creating more data for solving gun crime builds upon California’s existing gun safety laws and is further evidence that the state’s science-based approach to preventing gun violence is working and is worth investing in. By ensuring that new semiautomatic pistols in California are equipped with this technology, we are creating a needed tracing system to ensure that when used in a crime these weapons are identifiable and the perpetrator brought to justice. We know that the majority of gun crimes go unsolved. Furthermore, we know that fatal shootings involving African Americans go unsolved at greater rates. Helping to solve these crimes ensures we are keeping all Californians safe and stopping cycles of violence from taking hold, creating a ripple effect of benefits to public safety and trust.”

Brady California Legislative Chair Amanda Wilcox shared:

“The common-sense updates to California’s Unsafe Handgun Act are needed and will help our state’s law enforcement to do their job and keep communities safe. We are grateful to Assemblyman Chiu for thoughtfully addressing the stated limits of gun manufacturers and crafting legislation that is practical, effective, and achievable. As Brady members around the state worked hard to enact this policy in 2007, today’s vote is a long-sought victory over the gun industry’s evasion. This bill will help to solve gun crimes across the state and to stop cycles of violence before they have the opportunity to take hold and metastasize.”

About AB 2847:


AB 2847 strengthens California’s Unsafe Handgun Act (UHA), which was passed in 1999 and established safety and quality standards for firearms manufactured and sold in California.

AB 2847 works to ensure that new model semi-automatic pistols introduced into California incorporate microstamping technology, which imprints a microscopic marking unique to that handgun on bullet cartridge casings when the gun is fired. When a cartridge is recovered at a crime scene, law enforcement then has access to the make, model, and other identifying information about the gun.

Microstamping requirements were included in a previous amendment to the UHA in 2007. The amendment included a requirement that all new semiautomatic pistol models incorporate microstamping technology in two places. The gun industry has effectively boycotted this safety law by refusing to develop and introduce any new handgun models for sale in California. Since 2013, when microstamping finally went into effect, no firearm manufacturer has submitted a handgun for certification that incorporates microstamping technology. Gun manufacturers claim they do not have the capacity to microstamp cartridges from two places on the interior of a firearm, as required under existing law, but have conceded that they are able to do so from one place.

AB 2847 addresses this concern and actually eases the requirement by mandating that newly developed semiautomatic pistol models engrave microstamping characters on just one place on the interior of the firearm. Gun manufacturers can easily, affordably, and feasibly comply with this mandate. This bill will likewise progressively reduce the availability of handguns that do not meet the existing UHA safety standards, gradually reducing the number of noncompliant weapons sold in California.

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Brady has one powerful mission — to unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in common sense. In the spirit of our namesakes Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 45 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.


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