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

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday signed legislation by Sen. Catherine Blakespear of Encinitas that will require all semiautomatic pistols sold in California to use microstamping technology beginning in 2028.

The new technology utilizes 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.

Blakespear joined Newsom, other legislators and gun safety advocates at a Capitol press conference to celebrate the signing of Senate Bill 452.

“I thank Gov. Newsom for co-sponsoring and signing SB 452, which is another big step forward in our efforts to reduce gun violence, protect the public and catch criminals,” said Blakespear. “SB 452 will put to use readily available technology to help law enforcement identify the guns used illegally and the people behind them.”

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%, and only 55% for homicides.

“Disrupting the cycles of violence is imperative to ending the gun violence epidemic,” said Kris Brown, president of Brady. “Microstamping will help our law enforcement agencies do just that by equipping them with reliable tools to track firearms used in crimes.”

“This objective data will help quickly identify shooters and gun traffickers before they can inflict more harm on California’s communities,” Brown said.

The new law will prohibit the sale or transfer of a semiautomatic pistol made after Jan. 1, 2028, unless it has been verified as a microstamping-enabled.

Newsom also signed Blakespear’s related Senate Bill 417, which requires gun sellers to post the following notice: “WARNING: If you or a loved one is experiencing distress or depression or is contemplating suicide, please call 988 (The Suicide & Crisis Lifeline). Access to a firearm in the home significantly increases the risk of suicide, death, and injury during domestic violence disputes, and the unintentional death and traumatic injury to children, household members, and guests.”

Blakespear represents Senate District 38, which covers northern coastal San Diego County and part of Orange County.

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