SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A federal court has rejected a challenge to California's gun safety law, possibly paving the way for a requirement that new guns mark the bullets they fire so they can be traced.
The ruling was a defeat for two gun rights groups that argued the Unsafe Handgun Act violated the constitutional right to bear arms.
The law prohibits the manufacture or sale in California of any gun that doesn't meet certain safety requirements. It was aimed at outlawing cheap “Saturday Night Specials” that were disproportionally used in crimes.
A 2007 amendment added a requirement that new or modified semi-automatic handguns include technology that microstamps a bullet casing with a code identifying the gun's make, model and serial number.
That requirement was held up by concerns about patent issues on the technology but took effect in 2013. However, the federal challenge continued.
This week's ruling “means that more gun crimes will be solved, more lives will be saved and California communities will be safer,” said a Friday statement from Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, who authored the 2007 amendment when he was a state Assembly member.
The gun safety law initially was challenged in 2009 by the nonprofit Second Amendment Foundation and Calguns Foundation, Inc.
Their lawsuit argued that the state law unconstitutionally prevented some members from buying certain types of handguns that were not on the state's roster of permitted weapons.
The judge in the federal case rejected the argument that the law was onerous, saying that the commercial sale of firearms in the state “proceeds robustly,” with about 1.5 million handgun transactions since the lawsuit was filed.
The ruling also noted that the state's roster of permitted handguns includes 795 models.
Messages seeking comment from Alan Gura, an attorney who represented the gun groups, weren't immediately returned.