© 2024 KALW 91.7 FM Bay Area
KALW Public Media / 91.7 FM Bay Area
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Bullet Tracing Bill Reaches Governor Newsom's Desk

A bullet with an microstamped inscription
Creative Commons
A bullet with an microstamped inscription

Microstamping is a technique that leaves a unique imprint on bullets fired from semiautomatic pistols. The marking reveals the gun’s make, model, and serial number. And that can help law enforcement more quickly identify perpetrators.

But gunmakers have argued against the idea. They say the technology is unreliable, because the etching on the firing pin doesn’t leave a legible imprint on every bullet casing, and could be removed by a shooter. They also claim a criminal could intentionally drop other bullets at A crime scene to confuse law enforcement. 

This same law originally passed back in 2007, but was delayed for years due to court challenges from gun industry groups.

The State Supreme Court ultimately upheld the law two years ago.But gunmakers got around it. They stopped  introducing new pistol models to the California market, and kept selling approved old models without microstamping technology.

This new bill, AB2847, would require the state Attorney General to remove three old pistol models from the certified handgun list, and replace them with models that have microstamping technology. The bill now goes to the governor for approval or veto. 


Bee Soll is a producer with Your Call at KALW, and a producer, writer, and editor at KCBS Radio in San Francisco. She is a former reporter for Crosscurrents and contributor at KPFA Radio.