What is Microstamping?
Microstamping is a technology that allows particular guns to be identified by shell casings recovered at crime scenes. Guns with microstamping technology have a serial number engraved on internal surfaces. When the gun is fired, the serial number is automatically stamped onto the cartridge casing.
In October 2007, Governor Schwarzenegger signed a first-of-its-kind microstamping law in Californa, AB 1471.
About California's Crime Gun Identification Act of 2007 (AB 1471)
- The bill will require newly developed models of semiautomatic pistols introduced in California to have microstamping technology starting in 2010.
- Current law: Existing California law says that before a handgun can be sold in the state, it must be tested and certified as safe.
- New Requirement: This bill would say that starting in 2010, new models of semi-automatic handguns must have microstamping technology in order to be certified. They must leave at least 2 microscopic impressions of the gun's serial number on a shell casing when fired.
- Scope of application: Law would apply to any person in the state "who manufactures or causes to be manufactured, imports into the state for sale, keeps for sale, offers or exposes for sale, gives, or lends any unsafe handgun."
- Exceptions: The bill would not apply to:
- Revolvers (which do not discard shell casings and so would not generate useful evidence with microstamping); or
- Models of pistols that have already been certified before 2010 (they are grandfathered).
Prior to final passage, the new California microstamping bill got the support of California Police Chiefs Association; Police Officers Research Association of California; Los Angeles County Police Chiefs' Association; Los Angeles Police Protective League; Orange County Chiefs' and Sheriff's Association; and 65 individual police chiefs and sheriffs - as well as mayors and government officials throughout the state.
Other Pending Microstamping Legislation
Read the full text of California's new microstamping law (in PDF)
- Microstamping bills have been introduced in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
This is a selected list of initiatives that members of Mayors Against Illegal Guns are pursuing in their cities. Please note that the programs and ideas listed on this page have not been formally endorsed by the coalition. Mayors Against Illegal Guns understands that what works in one city or town might not work in another - but mayors in this coalition have an interest in learning from each other, and these items are presented as starting points for those conversations.