When it comes to guns, ‘Impossibility of compliance is not a sufficient reason for invalidating a law’

As I write this, the Florida Democrat party has just chosen as their 2018 gubernatorial nominee Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who wants to abolish ICE — Immigration and Customs Enforcement — leaving immigration enforcement to desk-bound attorneys at the “Department of Justice,” thus opening our borders to millions of non-English-speaking illegal aliens, who know and care nothing about our Constitution or our American culture -– while doubtless also handing them drivers’ licenses and registering them to vote, as is already common practice in California and its largest suburb, Nevada.

Mayor Gillum also insists “health care is a right,” and therefore vows to work toward spending billions and billions providing “free” tax-funded medical care for all (meaning the life-saving surgery you need within six weeks would be free! . . . and scheduled just 10 months from now, as you “wait your turn in line.”)

This guy also wants to repeal Florida’s “stand your ground” law, which allows homeowners to use deadly force to defend themselves and their families from violent home invaders, and otherwise vows to “fight the NRA.” (Would he also “fight” the civil rights groups who work to protect the OTHER nine planks of the Bill of Rights? Unclear.)

Give the Democrats credit for one thing: At least they no longer pretend to be “moderates.” Trump-endorsed GOP nominee Ron DeSantis says Gillum wants to “turn Florida into Venezuela.” We’ll see how that works out, come November.

Continuing with our theme that the Left no longer even pretends to be “moderate and reasonable,” we’ve all known for decades that behind the Democrat/Leftist simpering and mewling that they only seek “modest, reasonable” gun control, what they really want to do is take away all firearms from everyone but their own government soldiers and police — the same situation that prevailed in Stalin’s Russia, Hitler’s Third Reich, and Mao’s China, with such exemplary results for minorities and political dissidents of all stripes.

Now, they and their leftist judges finally admit it.

First, some background: Erin Cox of the Baltimore Sun reported on Nov. 7, 2015: “Millions of dollars later, Maryland has officially decided its 15-year effort to store and catalog the “fingerprints” of thousands of handguns was a failure.

“Since 2000, the state required that gun manufacturers fire every handgun to be sold here and send the spent bullet casing to authorities. The idea was to build a database of ‘ballistic fingerprints’ to help solve future crimes.

“But the system — plagued by technological problems — never solved a single case. Now the hundreds of thousands of accumulated casings could be sold for scrap.”

“Obviously, I’m disappointed,” said former Gov. Parris N. Glendening, a Democrat whose administration pushed for the database to fulfill a campaign promise. “It’s a little unfortunate, in that logic and common sense suggest that it would be a good crime-fighting tool.”

The database “was a waste,” responded Frank Sloane, owner of Pasadena Gun & Pawn in Anne Arundel County. “There’s things that they could have done that would have made sense. This didn’t make any sense.”

“In an old fallout shelter beneath Maryland State Police headquarters in Pikesville, the state has amassed more than 300,000 bullet casings, one from each new handgun sold here since the law took effect,” Miss Cox of the Sun continued. “They fill three cavernous rooms secured by a common combination lock.

“Each casing was meticulously stamped with a bar code, sealed in its own envelope and filed in boxes stacked from floor to ceiling. Forensic scientists photographed the casings in hopes the system would someday identify the owner of a gun fired at a crime scene. The system cost an estimated $5 million to set up and operate over the years.

“But the computerized system designed to sort and match the images never worked as envisioned. In 2007, the state stopped bothering to take the photographs, though hundreds of thousands more casings kept piling up in the fallout shelter.”

The “ballistic fingerprinting” law was repealed effective Oct. 1 of that year, ending the requirement that spent casings be sent in. The General Assembly, in repealing the law, authorized the state police to sell off its inventory for scrap.

One problem was that “on average, most guns used in crimes were bought nearly 15 years prior,” according to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. “By the time they end up on the street, they’ve often been stolen and resold illegally,” Miss Cox of the Sun reported.


Maryland gave up after finding their scheme solved not a single crime. OK?

But state lawmakers in California, it turned out, had a better idea. Require manufacturers to engrave tiny serial numbers on the firing pins of firearms sold in that state. That way, each round of spent brass recovered at a crime scene would bear a tiny, microscopic number to its primer casing, identifying by make and serial number the firearm from which it had been discharged.

The law applies only to new and newly modified semi-automatic handguns. Though eventually, of course, as old guns wear out, such a law means Californians would find firearms becoming more and more expensive, and eventually unobtainable.

A number of practical objections might occur to anyone familiar with things that go bang. First, a criminal can easily opt to use a revolver, which rarely leaves spent brass at a crime scene. Unless or she he engages in hasty and careless reloads, his or her brass remains in his cylinder. Even semi-auto pistols, designed to eject each spent casing, can be fitted with fabric bags to catch that brass.

And of course — as Miss Cox of the Sun notes — few criminals commit their crimes with firearms which they purchased under their own names at federally licensed gun stores; most guns used in crimes are stolen, or purchased from some guy named Buster or Roderigo out of a car trunk in the alley behind the tavern (which may not even be “illegal” — her word — since private sales remain perfectly legal, in most places.)

Sacramento lawmakers ignored all those problems, but did respond to one other objection: What if a gun owner simply filed off the markings from the front of his firing pin, or (gasp!) installed a replacement firing pin with a different micro-stamping, or bearing no number at all?

The California lawmakers’ solution? They enacted a law requiring that a new-sold firearm must stamp the brass with a little number at TWO DIFFERENT locations at the moment of firing –- to “have a microscopic array of characters in two spots that identify the gun’s make, model and serial number and that are transferred by imprinting on each cartridge case when the gun is fired.”

I suspect l know what you’re thinking. The only reason a firearm operates as intended, without blowing up in the user’s face, is that the entire brass cartridge case is securely cocooned in a sturdy steel chamber, in front of a locked bolt, at the moment of ignition. There simply IS no moving part — other than the firing pin — that could stamp the brass “in a second location” at the moment of firing.

Which means it would be technically impossible to comply with this law, which means the courts would throw it out with a chuckle the moment it reached their bench. Right?

Well . . . no. We’re talking CALIFORNIA, remember. On June 28, 2018, the California Supreme Court threw out not this new bullet-stamping LAW, but rather the lawsuit CHALLENGING the new bullet-stamping law.

“The California Supreme Court ruled unanimously to throw out a lawsuit challenging California’s bullet stamping law that requires new semi-automatic handguns to stamp identifying information on bullet casings,” The Associated Press reported on that date.

Gun rights groups argued the law should be overturned because it was impossible to comply with, as the technology does not exist. The court ruled the law could not be overturned simply because it was impossible to comply with — simply because the technology to reliably “microstamp” in two different areas does not exist.

Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (and I once had high hopes for that guy) signed the law in 2007, supporters arguing it would help police solve gun crimes by allowing them to trace bullet casings to the original gun. The law took effect in 2013.

Attorneys for the state government argued in court that the law would force the gun industry to innovate — that lawmakers often enacted laws to force different industries to adapt. If the California Supreme Court had ruled in favor of the gun rights groups, lawmakers would have been stripped of that ability, they argued.

But not to worry. Surely the Appeals court will throw out this piece of nonsense. Right?



On Aug. 4, 2018, “a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (79 percent reversal rate since 2010) upheld California’s microstamping law — even though microstamping is theoretical at best,” reported AWR Hawkins at Breitbart News.

“The Ninth Circuit ruling came just over a month at the California Supreme Court ruled that an impossibility of compliance is not a sufficient reason for invalidating a law.”

Just as the California Supreme Court had held state laws cannot be invalidated on the grounds that complying with them is impossible, “The Ninth Ninth Circuit likewise upheld the impractical — and impossible — requirement on Friday,” Mr. Hawkins of Breitbart reported.

The Associated Press reported the Ninth Circuit “also rejected arguments that the stamping requirement won’t significantly help solve homicides.”

Possibly because of that “stolen gun” thing.

Gee. Let’s see see if we can come up with an equivalent law that would similarly affect some OTHER provision of the Bill of Rights. In our hypothetical example, let’s suppose the state Legislature in Sacramento were to decide there are three crimes — rape of a child under 12, or serving as a lawyer or campaign manager for Donald Trump — that are so heinous, so outrage the public conscience, that they should be punishable by a minimum of 20 years in prison WITHOUT TRIAL.

Cooler heads intervene, pointing out the courts would never allow suspects to be locked up for 20 years without a trial, a right guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment (just as the right to keep and bear arms is guaranteed by the Second.)

So, in a compromise, again in our hypothetical example, the California lawmakers enact a law that those charged with any of those three aforementioned heinous offenses have a right to trial, but that they can be locked up UNTIL SUCH A TRIAL SHALL BE CONVENED, and that all trials for those three heinous crimes must be held . . . on the planet Mars.

The ACLU appeals that law up the chain of courts, through the California Supreme Court and on to the Ninth Circuit. Surely, they figure, the courts will throw out a law that stipulates a defendant has a right to a trial only if he can get to Mars, somehow hauling along the judge and jury with him.

But — imagine if you can — the Ninth Circuit judges again rule, as urged by attorneys for the Golden State of California, that “impossibility of compliance is not a sufficient reason for invalidating a law.” As a matter of fact, they rule that the very impossibility of currently meeting the “trial must be held on Mars” requirement is a GOOD thing, since . . . wait for it . . . this will surely “force greedy corporations into the faster development of affordable commercial space travel”!


Meantime, later in August, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry and the state’s Bond Commission denied $600 million to Citibank and Bank of America over the gun control stance adopted by both companies.

Citibank and Bank of America had both initially been part of a state road financing plan, but were ousted from the financial plan after arbitrarily placing new gun controls on banking customers.

Louisiana Executive Division press secretary Ruth Wisher told Breitbart News that Landry and State Treasurer John Schroder have been working on the state’s response to corporate gun control “for some time.” Ousting them from the $600 million program is part of that response.

On March 23, 2018, Breitbart News reported on Citibank’s new gun control regulations, which require gun store customers to quit selling “high capacity” magazines (that is to say, the normal-capacity magazines with which those firearms were designed to function) in order to do business with the bank. Citibank also demanded bank store customers refuse to sell long gun to anyone 18-to-20 years old, even though long gun sales to 18-, 19-. and 20-year-olds are legal (and 18-to-20-year-olds regularly use fully automatic weapons in the U.S. military).

On April 13, 2018, Reuters reported that Bank of America was further reworking their policy so as to cut off credit and banking services to commercial customers “who make military-style firearms for civilians.”

(Military firearms are usually designed to allow full-auto fire. No one in America manufactures such firearms for civilian use.)

Yes, private companies ought to be able to do business with whomever they please, of course (Though try telling that to a Christian Colorado baker who prefers not to design cakes featuring Satan licking a functioning 9-inch dildo in order to help a “transgender individual” celebrate his own voluntary castration. (See http://dailycaller.com/2018/08/15/jack-phillips-sues-colorado/ , or https://www.weeklystandard.com/mark-hemingway/masterpiece-cakeshop-colorado-baker-faces-complaint-from-transgender-customer .)

But surely no one is obliged to do business –- especially with taxpayer money -– with any bank that announces it’s going to try to purposely and selectively suppress one or more of our Constitutional rights.

How about you? Still doing business with Citibank or Bank of America? You do have a choice, you know.

Vin Suprynowicz was for 20 years a columnist and editorial writer for the daily Las Vegas Review-Journal. He blogs at www.vinsuprynowicz.com .

One Comment to “When it comes to guns, ‘Impossibility of compliance is not a sufficient reason for invalidating a law’”

  1. Henry Says:

    “Obviously, I’m disappointed,” said former Gov. Parris N. Glendening, a Democrat whose administration pushed for the database to fulfill a campaign promise.”

    This twit’s defining 15 miutes of fame came during a press conference when he proved himself entirely incompetent to remove an “easy to use” gun lock, which his new bill would mandate all gun owners to install on their self-defense weapons. After 54(!) attempts by both Glendening and his Park Police sergeant to unlock the gun, they simply gave up.