NSSF And SAAMI Sue California To Stop Microstamping

The National Shooting Sports Foundation and the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute filed suit in Fresno Superior Court today. They are seeking a preliminary injunction against California’s microstamping law calling it unworkable.

You may remember that last year California Attorney General Kamala Harris certified the microstamping was no longer covered by patent protection. As a result, all new firearms that weren’t previously on the California Handgun Roster now must be microstamped. Any design changes a manufacturer makes to an existing firearm would then require it to be recertified and thus have a microstamp on its firing pin.

The release from NSSF and SAAMI is below:

NEWTOWN, Conn. – The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute (SAAMI) have filed a motion for a preliminary injunction on behalf of their members against the State of California in Fresno Superior Court to prevent enforcement of the state’s microstamping law. The state statute enacted in 2007, but not made effective until May 2013, requires that all semiautomatic handguns sold in the state not already on the California approved handgun roster incorporate unproven and unreliable microstamping technology.

Under this law, firearms manufacturers would have to micro laser-engrave a gun’s make, model and serial number on two distinct parts of each handgun, including the firing pin so that, in theory, this information would be imprinted on the cartridge casing when the pistol is fired.

“There is no existing microstamping technology that meets the requirement of this ill-considered law. It is not technologically possible to microstamp two locations in the gun and have the required information imprint onto the cartridge casing. In addition, the current state of the technology cannot reliably, consistently and legibly imprint on the cartridge primer the required identifying information from the tip of the firing pin, the only possible location where it is possible to micro-laser engrave the information, said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel.

“The holder of the patent for this technology himself has written that there are problems with it and that further study is warranted before it is mandated. A National Academy of Science review, forensic firearms examiners and a University of California at Davis study reached the same conclusion and the technical experts in the firearms industry agree,” Keane said. “Manufacturers cannot comply with a law the provisions of which are invalid, that cannot be enforced and that will not contribute to improving public safety. Today, we are seeking injunctive relief against this back-door attempt to prevent the sale of new or upgraded semiautomatic handguns to law-abiding citizens in California.”

In 2007, California Assembly Bill 1471 was passed and signed into law requiring microstamping on internal parts of new semiautomatic pistols. The legislation provided that this requirement would only became effective if the California Department of Justice certified that the microstamping technology is available to more than one manufacturer unencumbered by patent restrictions. The California legislature subsequently reorganized certain statutes concerning the regulation of firearms, including the microstamping law in 2010. On May 17, 2013, Attorney General Kamala D. Harris provided such certification.

Smith & Wesson and Sturm Ruger have separately announced that they would no longer be selling new or improved semiautomatic handgun models in California because of the impossibility of complying with the new law.

The notice that NSSF and SAAMI would be seeking a preliminary injunction can be seen here.

There Are Amicus Briefs And Then There Is This One

Amicus briefs are intended to be a way for interested parties to point out relevant aspects of the law to the judges or justices hearing a case. In the Second Amendment realm, the pro-2A amicus briefs come from the NRA, the Second Amendment Foundation, GOA, or other groups or individuals interested in securing the right to keep and bear arms. Conversely, the amicus briefs from those who take a more restrictive view would come from the Brady Campaign, the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, and others of their ilk. All of these briefs tend to cite relevant law pro or con to support their arguments. Even the best written of them tend to be, to put it politely, boring.

But what about in other constitutional realms? They, too, tend to be boring. Thus, the brief submitted by the Cato Institute and P. J. O’Rourke in support of the petitioners in the case of Susan B. Anthony List, et al v. Steven Driehaus, et al stands out. It is, frankly, a hoot to read. While ostensibly written by Ilya Shapiro of the Cato Institute, one gets the feeling that it was heavily edited by P. J. O’Rourke. How else could you explain the first footnote?

Pursuant to this Court’s Rule 37.3(a), letters of consent
from all parties to the filing of this brief have been submitted to
the Clerk. Pursuant to this Court’s Rule 37.6,
state that
this brief was not authored in whole or in part by counsel for
any party, and that no person or entity other than
made a
monetary contribution its preparation or submission. Also,
and their counsel, family members, and pets have all won
the Congressional Medal of Honor.

That sets the tone for the rest of the brief which speaks to such things as truthiness. Included are such gems as the following:

  • After all, where would we be without the
    knowledge that Democrats are pinko-communist
    flag-burners who want to tax churches and use the
    money to fund abortions so they can use the fetal
    stem cells to create pot-smoking lesbian ATF agents
    who will steal all the guns and invite the UN to take
    over America?

  • Driehaus voted for Obamacare, which the Susan B.
    Anthony List said was the equivalent of voting for taxpayer-
    funded abortion.Amici
    are unsure how true the allegation is given that the healthcare law seems to change daily, but it
    certainly isn’t as truthy as calling a mandate a tax.

  • It is thus apparently illegal in
    Ohio for an outraged member of the public to call a
    politician a Nazi or a Communist—or a Communist
    for that matter. That is no exaggeration: the
    law criminalizes a misstatement made in “campaign
    materials,” which includes “public speeches.”

  • Even in the absence of the First Amendment, no
    government agency could do a better job policing
    political honesty than the myriad personalities and
    entities who expose charlatans, mock liars, lambaste
    arrogance, and unmask truthiness for a living.

  • Politicians who are caught lying about
    themselves or others regularly attract more attention
    from the press than the subject of the original lie.
    The typical outcome is that the lie or cover up
    becomes more important than the original accusation
    or offense. And that dynamic predates smartphones
    and their latest “apps.” The impeachment of
    President Clinton was not based on any sexual
    activities he might have engaged in with Monica
    Lewinsky, but over the attempt to cover it up.
    Similarly, President Nixon’s resignation was
    prompted by his obfuscations rather than his
    orchestration of a third-rate burglary. And if this
    Court isn’t yet convinced of this point, amici have
    but two words more on the subject: Anthony Weiner.

Read the whole thing and make sure you read the footnootes. You just have to wonder who is laughing harder – the law clerks or the justices of the Supreme Court.

USA Brass Raided By Federal Investigators

Investigators from the Environmental Protection Agency and the FBI raided Bozeman, Montana-based USA Brass yesterday. According to various news reports, they are investigating environmental violations. USA Brass sells and processes once-fired brass.

From the Bozeman Daily Chronicle:

Jeff Martinez, special agent in charge of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Criminal Investigation Division in Denver, confirmed that agents were searching the business after reports of violations of environmental laws.

However, Martinez would not comment on specifics of the investigation.

USA Brass had been cited in 2013 by OSHA for violations related to exposure to lead, lack of training, and other issues. They could face fines of up to $45,000 for these violations. In October, 2013, the Gallatin County Health Department reported that 22 current and former employees of USA Brass showed elevated levels of lead in their blood.

Video of the raid from NBC Montana and KBZK Channel 7 Bozeman can be seen here and here respectively.

I just don’t see this ending well given the prior OSHA citations and the report from the Gallatin County Health Department. If I was a conspiracy theorist – and I’m not – I might say this was related to the Obama Administration’s war on guns and gun owners. Only time will tell.

Standards For A Conviction On Arms Trafficking

The Sacremento Bee ran a story this morning on St. Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) and his alleged involvement with international arms trafficking. The article reviews the criminal complaint against Yee and then discusses the evidence necessary for getting a conviction.

Albert Y. Dayan is the attorney who represented convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout. Mr. Dayan is a criminal defense attorney located in New York City who has successfully tried a number of cases involving fraud, murder, money laundering, etc. He was interviewed as part of this story about the evidence necessary to obtain a conviction against Yee on arms trafficking charges.

The evidence necessary to secure a weapons-trafficking conviction depends on the arms involved, according to Albert Y. Dayan, an attorney who represents convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout. When air-to-surface missiles are being sold, all prosecutors need to prove is the existence of an agreement, he said.

More proof is required with small arms like rifles and pistols, Dayan said. There, the government must establish an “overt act” advancing the transaction. Intent alone is not sufficient.

“Accepting money is an overt act. Going out and purchasing a truck to deliver (weapons) is an overt act. Going on a plane to go to the meeting is not an overt act,” Dayan said.

The description of Yee’s reluctance to move aggressively on an arms deal does not necessarily expose the FBI to an accusation of entrapment, Dayan said – and if Yee were to pursue an entrapment defense, it would require him to acknowledge that he had agreed to broker a purchase.

“Even if the senator says ‘I’m not interested,’ the agent can and is allowed by law to keep asking and that would still not to rise to the level of entrapment,” Dayan said.

Given this, I think Yee is in a heap of trouble. It sure looks to me like Yee had an agreement regarding the shoulder fired missiles (see p. 84 of the criminal complaint.) Given that Yee accepted money from the undercover FBI agent, I think that might also constitute the overt act necessary according to Dayan needed for proof. Of course, I am not an attorney so this is all speculation on my part. It will be very interesting to see what happens when it comes to trial.

Polite Society Podcast, Episode 223 Posted

As I’ve mentioned before, I am now a co-host on the Polite Society Podcast along with Rob Morse, Rachel Malone, and Paul Lathrop. I will be posting links to the most recent podcast on a regular basis (if I can remember to do it!).

Episode 223 has just been posted and features an interview with Trevor, Pat, and Mo of Action Shooting Radio. This is a relatively new podcast coming out of Canada and features news on competition shooting in the Great White North. You may remember Trevor from Canadian Reload Radio. He is also a co-host of the Slam Fire Podcast.

As always, we feature gun-related news and stories about the use of firearms in a defensive situation (DGUs).

You can hear Episode 223 here. Links to news and DGUs can also be found there.


This tweet from State Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) is absolutely priceless given his arrest yesterday on charges of conspiracy to deal in firearms without a license and to illegally import full automatic firearms  from Russia and/or Muslim extremists in the Philippines.

Comment Of The Day

The comment of the day comes from Tam. It is about State Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) and his arrest yesterday for public corruption and arms trafficking. It is deliciously snarky in a way that only the Mistress of Snark could do with her skill and aplomb.

This guy ranting about the dangers of the criminal misuse of firearms is like Jerry Sandusky railing against the touching of little boys.

Sen. Leland “Bullet Button Loophole” Yee Arrested On Corruption Charges (Updated)

California St. Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) who has led the fight to close the “bullet button loophole”  was arrested by the FBI today on public corruption charges including bribery.

From the AP:

A California state senator who was lauded for his efforts to make government more transparent was arrested Wednesday along with a onetime gang leader known as “Shrimp Boy” during a series of raids by the FBI in Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area, authorities said.

FBI spokesman Peter Lee confirmed the arrests of State Sen. Leland Yee and Raymond Chow, but declined to discuss the charges, citing an ongoing investigation. Yee was scheduled to be arraigned in federal court in San Francisco later Wednesday.

Yee was one of three Democrats running to be California Secretary of State. One of his opponents blamed the arrest on the need to raise money for campaigns.

Democrat Derek Cressman, who is one of several candidates also running for secretary of state, released the folowing statement:

“Coming on the heels of the corruption charges of Senator Calderon and the conviction of Senator Wright, today’s actions need to be a wake up call. We are clearly beyond the point of looking at one bad apple and instead looking at a corrupt institution in the California senate,” Cressman said. “The constant begging for campaign cash clearly has a corrosive effect on a person’s soul and the only solution is to get big money out of our politics once and for all.”

Corrosive effect on a person’s soul? Oh, please. As for his confederate who was arrested at the same time, Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow, he was indicted in the 1990s for racketeering involving both teenage prostitution and trading in heroin. He later served 11 years of a 25 to life sentence on gun charges.

UPDATE: It gets better. What could be the worst charge that you could think of for an anti-gun politician like Leland Yee? Yep, arms trafficking.

In addition to being charged with wire fraud of honest services, Sen. Yee, along with his political consultant Keith Jackson and Wilson Sy Lim, are being charged with violating Sec. 922(a)(1) and Sec. 922(1). They are charged with conspiracy to deal firearms without a license and to illegally import firearms.

According to the criminal complaint, Yee told an undercover FBI agent that he would introduce him to an arms dealer he had known for many years. Yee went on to say that the weapons would be sourced from Russia. He asked the undercover agent if he wanted automatic or semiautomatic firearms. When the agent replied “automatic”, Yee said that wouldn’t be a problem. (see p. 84) The smuggled firearms would come through the Port of Newark, New Jersey. Yee was to get $100,000 for facilitating the first transaction valued at somewhere between $500,000 and $2.5 million.

All I can say is that Leland Yee is a hypocrite of the worst sort.

A Big City Mayor Arrested…And He’s Not A MAIG Member

Michael Bloomberg and Mark Glaze must be giving a big sigh of relief. A big city mayor was arrested today on corruption charges and the big distinction in all of it was that he wasn’t a member of (former) Mayor Bloomberg’s Illegal Mayors.

Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon (D) was arrested on charges that he took bribes and Vegas trips from undercover FBI agents five times. These bribes were in the tens of thousand of dollar range and he was asking for $1 million more. The 48 page Federal criminal complaint can be found here.

From the Charlotte Observer:

Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon was arrested Wednesday on public corruption charges, with the FBI alleging he took tens of thousands of dollars in bribes – including $20,000 in cash delivered in a briefcase last month to the mayor’s office where he also solicited $1 million more.

In return for the money, trips, hotel rooms and access to a luxury SouthPark apartment, Cannon promised to help agents posing as potential commercial investors with zoning, parking and other city-related issues.

If convicted on all charges, Cannon could face up to fifty years in prison and a $1.5 million fine.