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NRA Urges California Lawmakers to Vote “NO” on AB 1471 and AB 334

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Fairfax, VA- The National Rifle Association of America will be kicking off a grassroots campaign to ask state legislators to vote “no” on Assembly Bills 1471 (“Micro-stamping bill”) and 334 (“Victimizing-the-victim bill).

NRA members and gun owners will be asked to contact their state representatives and senators in the coming days and highlight the many problems with both bills.

AB 1471 seeks to mandate that all new semi-automatic handguns be required to have serial information about the firearm “micro-stamped” onto the surface of certain parts of the handgun. This flawed concept is based on a speculative assertion that “micro-stamped” information would be transferred onto the surface of the bullet as the gun is fired, creating evidence for investigators of crimes. The facts against micro-stamping are listed below:

RESEARCH SHOWS THAT MICRO-STAMPING IS FLAWED TECHNOLOGY -The technology has not been tested in real world scenarios and recently failed testing in ideal laboratory conditions. In 2006, the Legislature requested a state-funded study of micro-stamping technology by forensic experts and researchers at U.C. Davis. The researchers found this patented technology "flawed" and concluded, “At the current time it is not recommended that a mandate for implementation of this technology in all semiautomatic handguns in the state of California be made. Further testing, analysis and evaluation is required.”

MICRO-STAMPING IS NOT SUPPORTED BY CALIFORNIA LAW ENFORCEMENT - The bill has received NO SUPPORT from California statewide law enforcement organizations of sheriffs, police chiefs, rank-and-file officers associations or the Attorney General.

MICRO-STAMPING WILL INCREASE THE POTENTIAL CIVIL LIABILTY FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT AND GOVERNMENT AGENCIES - AB 1471 specifies that any new handguns not micro-stamped would fall into a category of handguns declared by the State of California as being “unsafe”. If California government agencies decide to purchase non-micro-stamped, “unsafe” handguns and issue them to their officers, they would leave their own staff open to civil litigation if they become involved in any shooting-related incidents.

MICRO-STAMPING TECHNOLOGY CAN BE EASILY DEFEATED - The micro-stamped parts of the handgun can easily be replaced without the use of tools. Advocates of the technology confirmed this in policy committee hearings in 2006, stating the firearm parts with “micro-stamping” could be easily altered in less than 30 minutes. The firearm parts also remain vulnerable to natural degradation and eventually will be erased through normal wear and tear.

MICRO-STAMPING CREATES FALSE EVIDENCE TRAILS - Micro-stamped cartridge cases fired and abandoned at government agencies’ facilities or private shooting ranges could be gathered and used to “seed” crime scenes with “evidence” implicating law enforcement officers and citizens to crimes they had nothing to do with.

MICRO-STAMPING WILL DRAMATICALLY INCREASE THE PRICE OF FIREARMS FOR ALL CONSUMERS - AB 1471 requires a complete redesign of the handgun manufacturing process and paying large licensing fees to the micro-stamping technology patent holder. The mandate in AB1471 could create a government-sanctioned monopoly for the patent holder to sell their technology at any price they choose.

MICRO-STAMPING COULD TRAP CONSUMERS INTO COMMITTING A CRIME - AB 1471 would make the everyday practice of maintaining and repairing firearms (as outlined in the handgun owners’ manual) a felony. If a person needed to replace commonly worn out, “micro-stamped” parts to keep their handgun safely operating, that person would be violating federal law because the alteration, removal and obliteration of a manufacturer’s or importer's markings on those parts carries the penalty of up to ten years in federal prison and $250,000.00 fine.

* * *

AB 334, or the “Victimizing the Victim” bill, seeks to further burden law-abiding California gun owners by mandating the report of lost or stolen firearms to the Department of Justice and law enforcement within five days of the disappearance of the firearm or face criminal penalty and a fine.

This bill arbitrarily puts the weight of crime on victims and fails to include important provisions to protect innocent citizens from unnecessary consequence.

AB 334 LEGISLATION FAILS TO EXEMPT PERSONS MAKING GOOD FAITH EFFORTS - Law-abiding citizens who learn about their lost or stolen firearms after the legal five-day time requirement are not exempt in AB 334. The absence of exemption deters law-abiding firearms owners from reporting the loss/theft of the firearm for fear of prosecution. In many cases, hunters only view and use their firearms during hunting season and may not know within five days that their firearms have been lost or stolen. These individuals should not fear penalty when no intentional wrongdoing occurred.

THERE IS NO PROVISION IN AB 334 THAT SPECIFIES WHAT INFORMATION ABOUT A LOST OR STOLEN FIREARM IS REQUIRED - Firearms owners may not have the information the Department of Justice requires in the report and without a detailed outline, law-abiding firearms owners could face unwarranted legal battles. Few victims of theft know the serial numbers, make, model and other identifying information of items in their homes such as DVD players, televisions or firearms.

NO POLICE DUTY TO INFORM - This bill does not include language that stipulates that law enforcement must notify a person reporting any type of theft at the crime scene of the five-day time requirement to report lost or stolen firearms, nor does it state that law enforcement provide the required Department of Justice reporting paperwork at the crime scene.

-nra-

Established in 1871, the National Rifle Association is America’s oldest civil rights and sportsmen's group. Four million members strong, NRA continues its mission to uphold Second Amendment rights and to advocate enforcement of existing laws against violent offenders to reduce crime. The Association remains the nation's leader in firearm education and training for law-abiding gun owners, law enforcement and the military.

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