California Is Starving the Availability of Lawful Handguns

By Larry Keane

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California Flag Guns Gun Control iStock 884191010

U.S.A. -( California is pulling off a vanishing act right before everyone’s eyes. The list of semiautomatic handguns available for sale there is rapidly dwindling, thanks to the state’s “Not Unsafe Handgun Roster.”

It won’t be too long before all semiautomatic handguns will be banned from sale in California – a step closer to gun control’s ultimate goal of banning lawful civilian firearm ownership. The California “Not Unsafe Handgun” law enacted in 2001 started a slow motion statewide handgun ban. The ban picked up momentum in May of 2013 when the 2007 law requiring microstamping on all new pistols became effective upon then-Attorney General Kamala Harris certifying microstamping technology was unencumbered by patent restrictions. There were 967 models available for lawful purchase when the roster was certified less than a decade ago. Today, there are under 250 available models, when different paint schemes are considered.

California Dreaming

California’s lawmakers started the process of denying citizens the ability to purchase modern semiautomatic handguns with legislation introduced in 1999. The law, introduced as SB 15, required that any handgun that is sold in the state, and capable of being concealed, must be tested by a certified laboratory and determined to be “not unsafe.” The criteria in 2001 was that every handgun had to contain three “safety” features, including an indicator that shows if a cartridge is present in the chamber, a mechanism that prevents a firearm from discharging when the magazine is removed or not present and the third is to incorporate unworkable microstamping technology.

The problem is that microstamping just doesn’t work. Microstamping is the theoretical notion that a firearm would impart an identifying code on the cartridge it expends, primarily from the firing pin on the primer. In theory, this would allow law enforcement to connect spent cartridge cases collected at crime scenes with a particular firearm by matching the identifying code.

In practice, it doesn’t work. The inventor of the technology, Todd Lizotte, who holds the sole-source patent to etch microscopic codes on the face of a firing pin, agreed that the technology wasn’t ready for widespread commercial use. Lizotte admitted that alphanumeric codes are often illegible under even perfect conditions. Electron microscopes couldn’t detect legible codes in testing. Even in laboratory settings, it would take at least 10 spent cartridges to make an “educated guess” to piece together a legible code. Third-party researchers agreed.

Facts Be Damned

It doesn’t take much to defeat microstamping. The technology can easily be negated with sandpaper or a nail file as the mark is only 25 microns (half the diameter of a human hair). Criminals already obliterate serial numbers etched into a firearm frame.

California lawmakers ignored that, passing another mandate in 2020 that every handgun must incorporate single-placement microstamping. Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law in 2020 that reduced the marking requirement to a single location but sped up the roster. For every one handgun that would be added, three would come off.

There have been no new models added to the roster since 2013, thanks to this mandate and the state’s interpretation that even minor cosmetic changes constitute a new model requiring microstamping. The list of handguns available for sale, however, has shrunken considerably – by nearly 75 percent. It will only pick up speed. Starting in July, the requirement for three handguns to come off the list goes into effect.

The trifecta of an unworkable requirement, a self-defeating mandate and a shrinking pool of commercially-available firearms means Californians are witnessing a slow motion ban on an entire class of firearms before their very eyes.

About The National Shooting Sports Foundation

NSSF is the trade association for the firearm industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of thousands of manufacturers, distributors, firearm retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations, and publishers nationwide. For more information, visit

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There is nothing positive to say about California’s elected officials. The government the rules over those on the West Coast state of California is like a virus spreading Northward towards the Canadian border. This goes for NY and the East Coast states run by democrats their ideologies of racism and hate and anti American propaganda are all consuming.
California is banning all things that have been an American way of life for decades the US constitution means nothing to the potlictions in charge
The politics of that state care more for the criminals than the well being of the taxpayers.


Kommiefornia has been banning all things that have been the American way of life. Proof of that is, in 2007 the economy was so bad and the price of gold was going up, I decided to get a dredge and start dredging for gold because it could pay better than my job and I could possibly start making more in one weekend than I did all week at my job or playing music and working in the machine shop on the weekends. They stopped gold dredging unless you were a multi million dollar business, in other words industrial gold mining.… Read more »


they dont want you to be independent


California’s politicians remind me of Satan in Milton’s Paradise Lost: “Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.” And they are certainly making a hell of a mess in what should be a heavenly State.


Amen to that brother.


The Communists will not be stopped by elections. Only by disinfection can the Communist virus be destroyed.

The way to stop Communist tyranny is by destroying the individual Communists themselves, their organizations, funding sources, politicians, educators, facilitators, professors, couriers, media sources, books, and every vector of Communist ideology.


You mean do to them what they have been doing to conservatives for years.
You’re right.


plague or petulance


You get the government you vote for and all the consequences that come with it. On the flip side…You deserve the Tyranny you allow to Rule you and all the consequences that come with it. Something the Founding Patriots came to understand and decided to no longer allow themselves to be Ruled. Although they understood the cost would be high. They chose to pay the price whatever it may be, because the Freedom they sought could be gained No other way.


True. I made many friends in CA at gun clubs when I was stationed there. I am amazed at how folks convince themselves they are ‘trapped’ in a state that hates them. I guess after spending my adult life fishing refugees out of the South China Sea and out of minefields at GTMO I don’t have a lot of sympathy for those who will not even call the movers to defend their freedom.


what happens if your firing pin breaks? do you have to undergo a background check to purchase a replacement. swapping firing pins would undo the requirement of microstamping. where is the logic? oh, i forgot, leftists do not use logic or reasoning.


YOu go to the very active black market in parts and components. And a huge black market has existed in CA for decades. When I was stationed there during the 1980’s and 1990’s there was a very active black market in pre-ban parts and components. Prohibition accomplishes one thing and one thing only: prohibition is good for the black marketeers. That is the case in CA.


Fuk Commiefornia.
Until SCOTUS tells all of the States it’s not in their purview to make gun laws and all the laws they have passed are unconstitutional, Commiefornian’s are screwed.
Pray for a super huge quake.
I want to have Beach front property.


That anyone who owns firearms continues to live in that sh*thole of a State is mind boggling.


Good morning. Bought a well used Ruger P95 a few years ago. It was lawful for a dealer to sell until it “fell off the roster” in 2013, if my dimming memory serves me correctly. I believe that was also around the time Ruger discontinued the model. A dealer couldn’t lawfully sell it so a work-around called a “private party transfer” between buyer and seller, conducted at an FFL, who held it the required 10 days, was the only lawful answer. I paid way more than I would have had I lawfully bought it in another state, but I wanted… Read more »

Last edited 10 months ago by RF