California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the idiotic "microstamping" bill on Saturday. This means that all semi-auto handguns sold in California after 2010 will be required to have little, computer coded marks on the firing pin which are supposed to transfer onto the primer upon firing, thus allowing the police to identify the make, model, and serial number of the gun from any spent cases left at the scene of a crime. Since criminals virtually never use a gun which can be traced back to them (unless they are celebrities like Robert Blake) and since the tiny markings can be easily defeated with no tools and little effort, the impact on crime and criminals is expected to be negligible. Expect to see bans on the sale of replacement firing pins, restrictions on possession of fingernail files, and restrictions on duct-tape and cardboard from which brass-catchers could be fabricated.
The Governator also signed a bill banning use of lead shot and bullets in millions of acres of the state where the endangered California Condor live. The condors, which are carrion eaters, are alleged to be eating the lead bullets and shot remaining in unrecovered game or unwanted portions left in the field by hunters. According to proponents of the law, such lead consumption is damaging the condor's survivability. The end result of this law probably will be a benefit to the condors since the reason lead is used is because it is the most efficient material for the taking of game. Use of other bullet and shot materials will probably result in more wounded birds and animals which will escape hunters and provide free feasts for the endangered vultures. Since there was no sound science or reliable research into the actual effects of lead bullets and shot on the California Condor, the results of this ban – beyond added costs to hunters – will never really be known.