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Last week, the California Department of Justice certified that microstamping technology is ready for California. As a result of this certification, microstamping – a technology that imprints a unique code on bullet cartridge cases as they are fired from a gun – will be required for all new handgun models manufactured for sale in the state, allowing for the implementation of a 2007 state law that is the first of its kind nationwide.

The Law Center supported the law by testifying at legislative and regulatory hearings because microstamping will bring significant benefits to law enforcement’s ability to investigate gun crimes. Microstamping allows law enforcement to connect an ammunition cartridge case recovered at a crime scene directly to the gun that fired it. The technology uses precise, microscopic engravings on the internal mechanisms of a handgun to stamp a unique code identifying the gun’s make, model and serial number onto every expelled cartridge case.

Cartridge cases are much more likely to be recovered at the scene of a shooting than the gun used, but, without microstamping, ballistic experts cannot use those cases to identify a specific weapon unless the firearm has also been recovered.

Through the adoption of this innovative technology, California has once again positioned itself as a leader in the effort to prevent gun violence. The state’s certification should also provide encouragement to the several other states have proposed, but not adopted, microstamping legislation in recent years. Most importantly, the attorney general’s announcement sends a clear message to gun manufacturers: it’s time to adopt this technology and help law enforcement solve gun crimes.