Microscope photo of stamped code on a pistol cartridge. Courtesy Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence

The state Senate has approved legislation by Sen. Catherine Blakespear of Encinitas that would require all semiautomatic pistols sold in California to use microstamping technology beginning in July 2027.

The new technology uses a special firing pin to stamp a unique, microscopic identifier on a cartridge as the trigger is pulled. It’s intended to help law enforcement identify the source of a gun used in a crime.

Senate Bill 452 passed on a 29-10 vote Wednesday and goes next to the Assembly for consideration.

“Gun violence is at epidemic levels in this nation,” said Blakespear, who has championed other gun safety legislation. “We need to do a better job of finding and catching anyone who uses handguns illegally and recklessly.”

“SB 452 simply puts to use readily available technology to help law enforcement catch criminals,” she said.

According to the Brady Campaign, when guns are used in homicides and other crimes, law enforcement often struggles to find the shooters. In 2021, the percentage of statewide gun crimes solved by law enforcement was only 40%.

SB 452 would prohibit the sale or transfer of a semiautomatic pistol made after July 2027 unless it has been verified as a microstamping-enabled pistol.

The legislation is co-sponsored by Gov. Gavin Newsom, the Brady Campaign and Moms Demand Action. 

Blakespear has also authored Senate Bill 417, which would require gun sellers to post warnings about the danger of having a firearm in a home, and Senate Bill 8, which would require gun owners to carry liability insurance. The first passed the Senate on May 11, and the second is a two-year bill currently held in the Senate Insurance Committee.

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.