Friday, January 31, 2014

Stepping Up To The Plate In California

As I reported earlier this month, both Ruger and Smith & Wesson have taken a stand against the California Department of Justice Handgun Roster by letting numerous popular models of their handguns drop off the list. In other words, they refuse to make a California-only model that includes a microstamped firing pin.

Now Mike Fifer and James Debney, the CEOs of Ruger and Smith & Wesson respectively, have filed Declarations in support of the plaintiffs challenging the Handgun Roster in the long-running case of Pena v. Lindley. This is a case being brought by the CalGuns Foundation and the Second Amendment Foundation in US District Court for the Eastern District of California.

The Declaration of Ruger CEO Mike Fifer can be found here. In it he says that the microstamping requirement is unworkable and that no firearms manufacturer has been able to implement it.

The Declaration of S&W CEO James Debney says that the technology is unworkable and that "the state law requires the technology to perform at a level it cannot." Debney goes on to point out that many of their handguns also do not have mag disconnects and loaded chamber indicators.

These Declarations join the amicus curie brief of Glock, Inc. in arguing against the Handgun Roster and in favor of the plaintiffs' position.

The Second Amendment Foundation welcomed the support from all three firearms manufacturers in a release put out yesterday shown below.

BELLEVUE, WA - The Second Amendment Foundation is expressing heartfelt gratitude today to three major firearms companies - Ruger, Smith & Wesson and Glock - for their supporting documents in the on-going case of Pena v. Lindley, a lawsuit challenging the California handgun roster requirements that include microstamping and magazine disconnects.

Earlier this week, Ruger CEO Michael O. Fifer and Smith & Wesson President and CEO James Debney submitted declarations to the court, explaining their respective companies' positions on the California microstamping requirement. Late last year, attorneys representing Glock, Inc. filed an amicus curiae brief supporting the SAF case.

"SAF will be eternally grateful for the timely support from all three companies, which we believe strongly reinforces our case," said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. "The statements from Messrs. Debney and Fifer confirm what we have argued all along, that California's requirements place an undue burden on both consumers and manufacturers."

In his statement, Fifer bluntly observed, "There is no workable microstamping technology today, and Ruger believes that California's microstamping regulations make compliance impossible."

Debney concurs in his statement, noting, "Smith & Wesson does not believe it is possible currently to comply with California's microstamping regulations. Quite simply, the state law requires the technology to perform at a level that it cannot."

In its earlier brief, submitted by attorneys Erik S. Jaffe of Washington, D.C. and John C. Eastman of Orange, Calif., Glock maintained that neither its pistols nor any other handgun in common use can comply with California's microstamping mandate.

"You cannot regulate handguns out of existence or out of the marketplace by mandating technology that doesn't work," Gottlieb observed. "Now three major gun companies have weighed in and we're confident their opinions will carry a lot of weight."
The impact of the microstamping requirement on handguns available for sale in California can be seen in this infographic from the CalGuns Foundation.  It is not a pretty picture and not a Constitutional one in my opinion.


  1. While writing legal briefs is nice, probably pointless in 9th CA but nice, I would much rather Glock, Ruger, and S&W halted all sales of "off roster" to police and Hollywood. That would be "stepping up to the plate" IMHO. By continuing to sell roster exempt weapons to the various gov't agencies, they continue to foster the dual class/equal protection environment between LE and non-LE...and prove that today's bottom line is more important then equal rights for all and more future sales when everybody is able to legally purchase from their entire inventory.

  2. @Fyathryio: I agree. I'd follow the Barrett approach. Realistically, it wouldn't hurt Ruger's bottom line as they only sell a minimal number of service pistols to the cops. Glock, S&W, & I'm guessing Sig dominate that market. Now if both Glock and S&W were to adopt the Barrett rule, I think you might see some change in attitudes among LEO in California.

  3. As I've heard who is Barrett, he is an intelligent man and can be a good leader.

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  5. I don't know much about microstamping but i hope it will be a great help