The Latest: California justices toss bullet stamping suit
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Latest on a ruling by the California Supreme Court on a state bullet stamping law (all times local):
The California Supreme Court says state laws cannot be invalidated on the grounds that complying with them is impossible.
The unanimous ruling on Thursday rejected a lawsuit by gun rights groups that sought to throw out a California law that requires new models of semi-automatic handguns to stamp identifying information on bullet casings. The groups argued that technology did not exist to meet the stamping requirements, and a law can’t mandate something that’s not possible.
The court said impossibility can sometimes lead courts to excuse a failure to comply with a law. But it said it can’t be the basis for invalidating a law.
A call to a spokesman for one of the plaintiffs, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, was not immediately returned.
The California Supreme Court will decide whether state laws can be challenged in court on the grounds that complying with them is impossible.
The court will issue an opinion on that question Thursday in a lawsuit over a California law that requires new models of semi-automatic handguns to stamp identifying information on bullet casings.
Supporters of the law signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2007 say it will help police solve gun crimes by allowing them to link bullet casings to guns. Gun manufacturers argue that the technology does not exist to meet the stamping requirements.
They say a law can’t mandate something that’s not possible.
Attorneys for the state say lawmakers often enact laws to force industries to innovate. They warned a ruling in favor of gun makers could take away that power.