California microstamping

And a bit of a free history/civics lesson, as well.

In my old home state of California, the bill that would mandate all guns manufactured after January 1st, 2010 has been sent to the Governator for his signature.  Now, being the skeptic that I am, I somehow don’t think that microstamping is actually going to help solve crimes.  I know that Maryland’s ballistic fingerprint database was a huge money pit; and in addition to being a huge money pit it didn’t really help any thing.

But that didn’t stop the California legislature from voting pretty much exactly down party lines on this bill.  Now, because the article I’ve picked is from a San Diego paper, it’s not quite as loony as some of the other things you’ll see.

The bill covers only new models or brands of semiautomatic handguns approved for sale in the state after Jan. 1, 2010. That excludes nearly 1,300 different semiautomatics already sold in the state. Revolvers, which do not discharge shell casings, also are not covered.

Like others have said, you can’t un-invent technology.  Unless they amend the bill to require all 1,300 of those guns to be taken in and have a firing pin put in them, which of course would then create a de facto gun registry.

We know that microstamping won’t work.  I can change the firing pin on a Glock in a matter of minutes; and just a little bit longer for a Beretta.

Back to the article – despite being largely well balanced and written, it does contain a few things I’d like to pick squares with.

More than 60 percent of homicides in California are committed with handguns and about 70 percent of the handguns sold in the state are semiautomatics, according to a legislative analysis of the bill.

What you have there is a false correlation.  While I don’t doubt that each statistic cited has individual value, it’s tremendously misleading to put them side by side like that.  Just because 60% of homicides are committed with handguns does not mean that the 70% of handguns which are sold legally and happen to be semi-automatics ever end up in crime.   How do I know they’ve been sold legally?  Because you can’t really track illegal sales.  There’s no record.

The second issue is one that I find personally irksome, as it is an error that no alleged “journalist” should ever be caught making.

To those that invoked the Second Amendment, Assemblyman Sandré Swanson offered up another passage from the Constitution.

“This is about life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” said Swanson

“Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” is not in the Constitution.  Holy Hell, did you miss every single US History class in freakin’ middle school?  The phrase that was quoted by Sandre Swanson is actually from the Declaration of Independence.  For Assemblyman Swanson, and the writer of this article, I have copied the relevant text here so that you may hopefully educate yourselves.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…

Honestly, not knowing where that quote comes from is shameful.  Endorsing the microstamping bill is foolish enough, but displaying your ignorance is even worse.


  1. “Happiness” probably meant property (and wealth) back then.

    I think the Founders’ views were that we have the right to defend our life, liberty, and property. Even British law allowed for self-defense (at the time).

    Are the police going to buy micro-stamped guns or do they get yet another exemption?

  2. I tend to agree with that assessment, what kills me is that the reporter and the Assemblyman didn’t know where the quote was actually from.

  3. I suspect they both knew, but were relying on the familiarity of the phrase and the ignorance of the average reader as to origin, to ring true with the reader, while they deliberately misled the reader into believing that these are constitutionally guaranteed rights and that only government can protect them and that their right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness trumps the rights actually in the constitution.

  4. That is remarkably misleading to correlate those two statistics… they are independent of each other, and their statistical bases are indiependent from each other as well. However, it pretty much goes without saying that 90% of journalists and 99% of politicians know precisely jack about statistics (and that 84.5% of statistics are made up on the spot).

    As for the Assemblywoman… the Kalifornistanians elected her. They are getting what they wanted (I just want the hell out of here as soon as possible).

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